The Kiss : Intimacies from Writers
by Brian Turner

Overview -

From Sioux Falls to Khartoum, from Kyoto to Reykjavik; from the panchayat forests of India to the Giant's Causeway on the coast of Northern Ireland; in taxis and at bus stops, in kitchens and sleigh beds, haystacks and airports around the globe--people are kissing one another.  Read more...

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More About The Kiss by Brian Turner

From Sioux Falls to Khartoum, from Kyoto to Reykjavik; from the panchayat forests of India to the Giant's Causeway on the coast of Northern Ireland; in taxis and at bus stops, in kitchens and sleigh beds, haystacks and airports around the globe--people are kissing one another. The sublime kiss. The ambiguous kiss. The devastating kiss. The kiss we can't take back. The kiss we can never give. The kiss that changes a life. In this anthology, writers and thinkers share their thoughts on a specific kiss--the unexpected and unforgettable--in an attempt to bridge the gulf, to connect us to one another on a deeply human level, and to explore the messy and complicated intimacies that exist in our actual lives, as well as in the complicated landscape of the imagination.

This is a book meant to be read from cover to cover, just as much as it's meant to be dipped into--with each kiss pulling us closer to the moments in our lives that matter most.

"A kiss, you see, can carry not just a heart in it, but a soul." --from Pico Iyer, "The Kiss at Dawn"

"There are countries in that kiss, years of experience, ghosts of past lovers and the tricks they taught you." --from Siobhan Fallon, "The Ride"

  • ISBN-13: 9780393635263
  • ISBN-10: 0393635260
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Publish Date: February 2018
  • Page Count: 240
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.85 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Literary Collections > Essays

BookPage Reviews

What's love got to do with it?

The month of Valentine’s Day has arrived, and whether you’re in a committed relationship, looking for love or happily single, we’ve got a few books you may want to have on your nightstand.

By Martie Haselton

The perfect Valentine’s Day read for: Heterosexual women interested in understanding how their hormones help them choose potential dates—or any woman who’s ever been pissed off by a guy calling her “hormonal.”

Between the covers: The world’s leading researcher of ovulatory cycles offers insight into the hidden intelligence of women’s hormones. It’s heavy on the science, so it can be dry, but knowledge is powerful.

Best advice for the lovelorn: Sexually active Soay sheep in Scotland are often sick and succumb to the elements, while those less driven to reproduce remain healthy. Sex is dangerous, Haselton writes, so stay home with your Wi-Fi.

Strangest tidbit: Only primates, bats and elephant shrews have menstrual periods.

Choice quote: “[W]e are not under strict hormonal control, locked in the sway of ‘heat,’ weakened by the loss of blood, or depleted as our fertility fades. Still, when we do feel these ancient forces stirring in rhythm with our hormonal cycles, we can tap into a uniquely feminine power.”

By J.D. Dobson and Kate Dobson

The perfect Valentine’s Day read for: Those who have reached a point—whether single, taken or navigating online dating territory—where all you can do is laugh.

Between the covers: Combining biting satire with gleeful absurdity, this is a relentlessly funny, bipartisan exploration of America’s presidents that judges each as a potential partner. Check out a fearless exposé of John Tyler (who was obviously a swamp monster) and a timeline of struggles with our greatest foe—Canada.

Best advice for the lovelorn: You can have a meet cute with Richard Nixon by doing the following: “Identify the sketchiest nearby location. . . . Go there, take out your wallet, and start visibly counting your money. When someone hits you on the back of the head with a sap, that’s Richard Nixon!”

Strangest tidbit: If you want to get into taxidermy in order to impress Teddy Roosevelt, you have to first murder an animal and then be cleared by a jury of its peers. Only then you may proceed with the taxidermy.

Choice quote: “Did you know that over time, people grow to look more and more like their favorite pastime? That is why the very handsome young Dwight D. Eisenhower gradually grew to resemble a golf ball.”

By Daphne de Marneffe

The perfect Valentine’s Day read for: Married couples and middle-aged singles who are struggling with parenting, finances, aging, loss of libido or drug and alcohol abuse, and are looking for practical, experience-based advice from a professional psychotherapist.

Between the covers: Daphne de Marneffe tackles the cliche of the midlife crisis in its many forms. Using examples from her practice, she illustrates how to cope with feelings of isolation, desire, longing and distress, offering a necessary guide for those who wish to heal and grow in their relationships.

Best advice for the lovelorn: If you’re feeling left out of the fun that young people supposedly are having—the excitement of falling in love, the freedom from caring for children and elders—perhaps it’s time to start an affair with understanding (and loving) your flawed self.

Strangest tidbit: A discussion of the differences between terms like “polyamory,” “swinging” and something called “sexual anarchy” might leave you wanting—and maybe or maybe not daring—to research their meanings further.

Choice quote: “Occupying the panoptic position of a therapist who sees people at all phases of life, I sometimes have the Ghost of Marriage Future impulse to tell women in their thirties, who currently feel hounded by their partner’s sexual demands, that in a decade or two they might be hankering for more attention, not less.”

By Jenna Birch

The perfect Valentine’s Day read for: Heterosexual millennial women who are well educated, successful, confident, independent—and really frustrated that they can’t get a guy to commit.

Between the covers: Health and lifestyle journalist Jenna Birch gets to the bottom of this major modern dating problem with her theory of the Love Gap, which she defines as “the reason men don’t always pursue the women they claim to want; frequently, women like you.”

Best advice for the lovelorn: “The exact love that you want is out there. But it takes patience, growth, tenacity, investment, discernment, a dash of timing, and just the right chemistry.”

Strangest tidbit: “I’m also here to tell you that men have pertinent needs that may overwrite the qualities they desire in a partner.” Sometimes logic really does go out the window.

Choice quote: “A relationship with the ‘right’ person should excite you with its potential for growth. A ‘right’ commitment should feel like it expands your possibilities in life, instead of shrinks them.”

Edited by Brian Turner

The perfect Valentine’s Day read for: The literature-loving romantic in your life.

Between the covers: Across cultures and time, the kiss has always been there. In this collection, a diverse assemblage of writers contribute their own unique takes on that singular act and all that it can mean.

Best advice for the lovelorn: There are billions of humans out there, and anything you’re feeling has been felt before, many times over. You’re not alone out there—even if you’re single. We’re all connected by something as simple as a kiss.

Strangest tidbit: Who knew a kiss could mean so many different things? It can be loving, sad, a goodbye or a hello—or even ambiguous. The full spectrum of human emotions can be pinned on a kiss.

Choice quote: “She will reach out, bridging the abyss between any two humans, and offer this kiss, this true gift, this brief meeting of spheres, and you’ll feel like a balloon being inflated, and believe quite suddenly in the possibility of grace.”(Excerpt from Steven Church’s “Kiss, Bounce, Grace.”)


This article was originally published in the February 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews