Kasia Boddy

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

Love Quarrels from Anton Chekhov to ZZ Packer


An unusual, witty anthology of love stories selected by Ali Smith, Kasia Boddy and Sarah Wood.

Love means never having to say you're sorry. No, love is in the air. No, love is the sweetest thing. No, it's soft as an easy chair. No, it's a stranger in an open car. No, it's a many-splendoured thing. No, it's the drug. No, it's like a butterfly.

Oh, let's call the whole thing off.

Love stories don't always involve hearts and flowers and walks in the park. This sparkling collection of the world's greatest love quarrels, from Chekhov to Colette, from D. H. Lawrence to Jhumpa Lahiri, features love stories for every mood and occasion. Here are new lovers testing the ground, cosy couples enjoying a quiet squabble before bedtime, and exes intent on picking up where they left off.

Often love quarrels start with trivial matters, such as a bride's new hat in Dorothy Parker's 'Here We Are' or a choice of bedtime book in Jackie Kay's 'You Go When You Can No Longer Stay'. But it doesn't usually take long for the stakes to be raised. Love is a risky business ...

ALI SMITH was born in Inverness in 1962 and lives in Cambridge. She is the author of Like (1997); Other Stories And Other Stories (1999); Hotel World (2001), which was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize; The Whole Stories and Other Stories (2003) and The Accidental, published by Hamish Hamilton in 2005. Ali Smith also writes for the Guardian, the Scotsman and the TLS.

KASIA BODDY is a senior lecturer in English at UCL. She is the author of Boxing: A Cultural History (2008) and co-editor (with Ali Smith & Sarah Wood) of Brilliant Careers: The Virago Book of Twentieth-Century Fiction (2000); she has contributed an introduction to the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

SARAH WOOD is an artist, filmmaker and film curator.

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