Meghan Kenny’s debut collection, Love Is No Small Thing, gives readers an assembly of keenly drawn characters each navigating the world looking for an understanding of love in its many forms and complexities—be it romantic, parental, elusive, or eternal. A father may teach his teenage son “Hearts break easy,” but as Kenny’s characters discover, knowing an important truth about love is no substitute for experiencing it.
In the title story, a woman learns of her boyfriend’s infidelity on Halloween night and contemplates lost years, concealments, and the difficulty of walking away. An Idaho cameraman and his cross-dressing, sky-diving son try to find common ground in “All These Lovely Boys.” A first date at the Corkscrew Swamp Bird Sanctuary becomes something else altogether in “Sanctuary,” and in “Heartbreak Hotel,” a father swaps stories of disappointments and losses with his daughter and an unwanted passenger on a cross-country road trip. Throughout this collection, Kenny’s characters try to bridge the gap between what they expected of their lives and what they have received. They struggle to understand their own identities and the value of the relationships they have or want, with results that are funny and poignant in equal measure.
Employing minimalist language and character-driven storytelling, Meghan Kenny grapples with love in all its messiness and uncertainty, revealing vital truths about the vagaries of the human heart and establishing Kenny as a vibrant new voice in the American literary landscape.
Meghan Kenny, winner of the Iowa Review Fiction Award, has published work in The Kenyon Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Gettysburg Review, Hobart, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She lives in Pennsylvania.