The Cape Doctor


By E. J. Levy

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A "gorgeous, thoughtful, heartbreaking" historical novel, The Cape Doctor is the story of one man’s journey from penniless Irish girl to one of most celebrated and accomplished figures of his time (Lauren Fox, New York Times bestselling author of Send for Me).
Beginning in Cork, Ireland, the novel recounts Jonathan Mirandus Perry’s journey from daughter to son in order to enter medical school and provide for family, but Perry soon embraced the new-found freedom of living life as a man. From brilliant medical student in Edinburgh and London to eligible bachelor and quick-tempered physician in Cape Town, Dr. Perry thrived. When he befriended the aristocratic Cape Governor, the doctor rose to the pinnacle of society, before the two were publicly accused of a homosexual affair that scandalized the colonies and nearly cost them their lives.
E. J. Levy’s enthralling novel, inspired by the life of Dr. James Miranda Barry, brings this captivating character vividly alive.


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Ex Africa semper aliquid novi.

—Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, VIII/42

If I were to write the story of my life, I would shock the world.

—Caterina Sforza

How long is this posthumous life of mine to last?

—John Keats



What follows is a work of imagination. The Cape Doctor is inspired by the life of Dr. James Miranda Barry (born Margaret Anne Bulkley circa 1795 in Cork, Ireland), one of the most eminent physicians of the nineteenth century. Dr. Barry's life has long inspired novelists and biographers, to whose efforts this book owes a debt (most especially the exhaustive 2016 biography, Dr. James Barry: A Woman Ahead of Her Time). I have changed the names of key figures for the purposes of fiction.

I have striven to accurately reflect the facts of Margaret Bulkley's and Dr. Barry's extraordinary life. Though they lived over 150 years ago, we know this: Margaret disguised herself as James Barry in 1809 to attend Edinburgh University, in order to pursue a medical education unavailable to women at the time. Having excelled in his studies, James Barry entered the military as an army surgeon, serving in Cape Town, Mauritius, and Jamaica, eventually rising to the rank of Inspector General. A dandy, a duelist, a flirt, Dr. Barry had a close bond with Lord Somerset—the powerful, charming, controversial, aristocratic Governor of the Cape Colony—which resulted in a sodomy scandal that rattled both the Cape Colony and London society. We know that Barry was the first to successfully perform a caesarian in Africa. And we know that the "layer out," who tended Barry after his death, reported that the doctor was "a perfect female," whose body showed evidence of having carried a child.

Barry did not leave a will, but he had left instructions (decades earlier when gravely ill) not to be undressed after death, without saying why. Biographers have speculated variously but inconclusively about this choice, but almost nothing remains of the intimate thoughts of Margaret or James. We are left to imagine.

Chapter One

Fortunate Son

She died, so I might live. Margaret. I owe her my life. Not a day goes by when I don't think of it. Of her. As not a day goes by when I don't think of him.

She died, so I might live, but isn't that the lot of women? To sacrifice, as our Lord was said to have done. Few speak of Mary's sacrifice, of course; that, we are to assume, was unexceptional. To martyr oneself for others is the expected lot of mothers and daughters. It's rarer in sons, except in war. So naturally, given the choice, I chose to be a son. Given the choice, who would not?

There are so many things we do not know until it is too late. Among them, that it is never too late. The American ambassador Franklin said it best: "I want to live so I might see how it turns out." We do. I can see that from where I am now—wherever that is, in this almost afterlife of imagination or fact (who can say for sure which it is?)—I can see that my life will be a scandal, and an inspiration. Charles Dickens will write of me, and Twain, even Havelock Ellis; I will be a riddle that generations will try to answer. A riddle I am trying to answer now.

When I was a boy, I was told that when I began a story, to begin at the beginning and continue to the end, so I shall. The question, of course, is where it all began. Where does any story start? Where did mine? The ending, alas, is always all too clear.

But to understand my beginning, you must understand her end, Margaret's.


Although it has been a very long time since I saw her—more than a lifetime, or several—I recall her vividly; though now she is more like an echo, an idea I once had, a dream. Yet for years when I looked in the mirror I saw her, looking back with my blue eyes. And somewhere in a parish church in Cork, there is a baptism recorded for the second child of Mary Ann and Jeremiah Brackley, who was christened one early April, our parents' eldest daughter, Margaret Brackley, an ungainly name for an unpromising start.

No one who had ever seen Margaret Brackley in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine (or so Jane Austen might have written of her, had she been informed of Margaret's entrance into the world in 1795 or so). Her situation in life, her mother and father, her own person and disposition were all equally against her. Her father was a prosperous greengrocer in Cork, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Jeremiah—and he had never been handsome. His eldest daughter, Margaret, had a thin awkward figure, sallow skin, unruly red-blond hair, and diminutive features, and not less unpropitious for heroism seemed her mind. She greatly preferred dogs to dolls; she had no taste for needlepoint or books, drawing or dances. There was nothing in the appearance of Margaret, in short, that would have suggested her as a likely heroine of this or any story. And she had what was considered to be in the late-18th century, as in too many centuries before and since, that most appalling defect at birth: she was born a girl.


My uncle, Jonathan Perry RA, was already a famous painter in London when I was born. (He went by Perry now, a name close to my mother's family name, but English; the name change necessary to pass among the powerful, to pose as one of them.) From our comfortable provincial parlor in Cork, my uncle's life seemed like a fairy tale, a myth or legend as remote as King Arthur and his knights. I did not know who Sir Joshua Reynolds was, or Edmund Burke, my uncle's friends, but I knew enough to be impressed by their names, to know these were important men from the way my mother spoke of them, as if they were our rich relations. When I first was told that my uncle was a member of the Royal Academy, I mistakenly thought this meant that he was royalty and that I might grow up to be a prince (although in those days I'd have hoped to be a princess).

Likely my uncle would have remained a mythological figure in my childhood bestiary—no more real to me than a satyr or the sphinx—had it not been for my brother's extravagant failure, which necessitated our journey to London to seek his help. It would have been more fitting for our father to make the trip to petition assistance from my eminent uncle on our behalf, but besieged by creditors, he could not leave the country without tempting the gaoler and debtors' prison. And though they'd long ago fallen out of touch, brother and sister had once been close, so my mother took up her pen and wrote to him. Or rather, since her hands shook at the thought of writing to ask for his help, I did, though I was only nine.

My uncle seemed to me in those days close kin to Ovid's conjuring on those Sunday afternoons when my father sat with us at his desk, the windows thrown open to the walled garden outside, the lazy buzz of bees in the apple blossoms, the air musky with lilac, as we sat over his old Latin grammar and Roman texts, his idea of an antidote to my mother's Catholic Mass. The lessons were meant more for my older brother's benefit than mine, but my brother Tom had no head for books; he was given to gazing out the window and tossing twigs at rabbits in the underbrush, so we were all amazed when he announced his intention to pursue law as an apprentice in Dublin.

My parents were delighted—that a grocer's son might rise to become a solicitor or barrister, a man of property and name. When my brother's head was quickly turned from his studies by a young lady of good family—Miss Ward—my parents did not despair; they settled the better portion of their estate on him, so he might buy a farm and set up a home befitting the good marriage he had made. But my brother was unaccustomed to hard work. His considerable intelligence had been blunted by a lack of meaningful application, which bred in him arrogance and petty attachment to rank; he seemed to feel entitled and undeserving both, which made him cruel. When his affairs on the farm failed to prosper, he was quick to borrow against his land and fell quickly into debt. Soon the farm had liens against it and debt collectors were at his doors and ours, seeking to collect the £700 we did not have, and so, in that early spring of 1804, because of my unsuccessful sibling, I made the acquaintance of my successful uncle, whose help, in desperation, my mother sought.


I never knew exactly why they had fallen out of touch—my mother and her once-favorite brother, whom she had watched nightly as he sat up late to draw by candlelight, and who had read to her when they were children; I know only that they had once been very close and then for nearly 40 years they did not speak. He went off to Dublin, then to Paris, Rome, and London, where he made the acquaintance of great men—the philosopher Edmund Burke and the famous Dr. Johnson—and became one himself.

I suspected my father came between them; he considered the connection beneath my mother's station, which—like our own—he disastrously imagined superior to what it was; he considered my uncle an untoward influence, being both a painter and a radical. (Of the two, he considered the former far the worse.) My father considered it unseemly to have an artist in the family line, despite my uncle's renown; he looked on him as one might an opium addict or a madman, a failing for which he could not quite fault my mother but from which he felt it best to separate her.

My father was nearly forty when my parents met, a plump and grasping man, whiskered and well upholstered, though my mother described him as robust and (if not precisely handsome) appealingly ambitious. I could see in my brother the young man my father must once have been—lively with an easy manner and a discerning eye, quick to see the value of a thing. My father had only to meet a horse to take its weight and worth; the same was true of land and ladies. In marrying my mother, an educated and attractive young woman of property, he had done well. He would see to it that his son did still better.

And although she never said it, I believe my mother imagined that in marrying my father, she was saving his Protestant soul. My mother was possessed of a keen intelligence, well tempered by curiosity and skepticism, a stalwart and steady woman for whom religion was her sole significant vice: she was strongheaded and clear-eyed save when it came to the church. She committed that singular sin of the devout: she flattered herself that she was in league with salvation. Her devotion to the church was, like her brother's love of painting, an aesthetic matter: as with the beauty of a good cross-stich or a well-turned hem, she liked to see a thing well done, irrespective of its end or aim. But her faith was tinctured too by melancholy, a genteel weakness for a lost cause.

I sometimes thought that if Catholics had ruled Ireland when she had come of age, instead of being besieged, she'd have dismissed the lot as so much superstition; it was precisely because Catholics were wronged that she was loyal; she was a woman who naturally gravitated to the losing side of any fight. Which perhaps explained her attraction to my father. Still, twenty years her senior, he must have seemed a man among boys. Watching him set out the fruits and vegetables in the wooden crates beneath the shop's awning, in barrels and in baskets, she had shivered in the sunlight to see his large bare hands smoothing dirt from the delicate ankle of a turnip, his thumb gently brushing the firm ripe skin of an apple.

She told me all this and more as we sailed to London together in that almost-summer of early June 1804—part bedtime story, part reminiscence, trying perhaps to instill in me an understanding of my father and something of the tenderness she'd felt for him then. Perhaps trying to revive such sentiments in herself.

My uncle had not answered our first letter, which we'd sent off two months earlier in April; we could not know if he had been in receipt of it, given that the address we had was of uncertain accuracy. So in June, at my father's behest, we'd set out for London to secure the assistance of my mother's famous brother. It had been my father's idea to contact my uncle and seek his help, but by the time we sailed for England, my mother had ideas of her own.


London—when we stepped onto the docks south of London Bridge that June—was a roar, a cacophonous jumble. Masts and boats and vessels of all sorts could be seen all along the broad green river, which reeked of sewage, dead fish, and rot. My mother pressed a kerchief to her nose against the stench, but it was the sound that buffeted my senses; a wall of sound that seemed a physical thing, like the dark green waves that broke at Ballycotton. Cart and carriage wheels and horses' hooves clacked over the cobbles; one could hear the click of women's pattens on the sidewalks, the cries of peddlers selling onions and rabbits, eggs and eels, dolls and books and rat poison, china; there were dogs barking and pennywhistles, and the mournful melodies of hurdy-gurdies.

As we rode away from the docks in a hired hackney coach, the stench of horseshit overtook that of the river and lent the crowded city the pleasant feel of a country stable, even as the streets swarmed with more people than I'd seen in all of Cork. In those days, London was a city of children; small persons of indeterminate sex and age darted in front of carts, dodging wheels, visible along the riverbanks like bugs working a dung pile—mud larks, I'd later learn—scavenging cloth and metal, a reminder of what might lie ahead for my sister and me if we were unsuccessful in our errand.

We had hardly settled into our lodgings when my mother sent me out again; she thought it best to get me to my uncle's home in Little Castle Street directly and unannounced, presumably so that my uncle could not evade the meeting. He was famously reclusive and infamously volatile. (She could not go herself, she said; if he recognized her, he might refuse to see us, but I suspected she was ashamed to beg. She was beautiful, clever, still proud then.)

Before we'd departed Cork, my mother had taken the precaution of having calling cards printed up and now she presented me with one, writing my name under hers in careful script, so I might present it to the servant at the door, should I find my uncle out, thus impressing upon him that we were gentle people familiar with morning calls and at-homes, that we were suitable company for society. It was a beautiful thing—the calling card, a heavy ivory paper with my mother's name impressed into it; I ran my thumb over it, held it to my nose. I wondered if this was where my mother's ring had gone. A family ring she'd worn on her forefinger. For bits of paper. Another loss among many. She cautioned me to look to my uncle's mantel for similar cards and to memorize the names. Armed only with necessity, a calling card, and blood kinship, which even at the age of nine I recognized as depreciating currency, I set out for Little Castle Street to meet my famous uncle.


Number 36 Little Castle Street appeared to be uninhabited when I arrived. The glass of the lower windows was broken, the shutters closed, and the door and walls spattered with mud. When I first turned down the street, a group of boys were collected outside the house; they shouted, pointing to the upper windows, until they were dispersed by a parish officer. When I enquired the cause of their outrage, I was told the house was occupied by an old wizard or a Jew (this point seemed unsettled), who lived there in "unholy solitude," the better to dedicate himself to unrighteous mysteries. Perhaps it was the wrong house; I hoped it was.

As I approached the door, I saw the yard itself was strewn with the skeletons of small animals, a dog's skull, marrowbones, wastepaper, fragments of boys' hoops and other playthings, and with various other missiles, which had been hurled against the premises. A dead cat lay upon the projecting stone of the parlor window, reeking a sickening sweet.

I hesitated on the doorstep before tapping on the door. It was mud spattered, with a feather plastered there, perhaps with dung. No one answered, so I rapped harder. I was startled when it opened, like a crypt from a gothic novel by Walpole or a maw.


"Is Mr. Perry expecting you, Miss?" The girl who answered the door was hardly older than I, but her skin was thin and loose, which lent her a fragile, anxious aspect, as if she were lacking more than food.

"I am his niece," I said, reciting what my mother had taught me to say.

She didn't offer to take a card. "I'll tell him you been round."

"Do you know where I might find him?" I set my gloved palm against the door, preventing its closing.

"He's gone out."

"The matter is one of considerable urgency."

The girl squinted at the street, and then at me. "You're his relation, you say?"

I nodded.

She seemed uncertain whether to let me in but disinclined to argue, acquiescing to bullying, even a child's, as those beaten down will do. Or perhaps she took pity on me. She pulled back the door to let me by.

"Can't see the harm in your waiting in the parlor. You can wait, if it suits you."

"I will wait."

And so I did. I was delighted by his rooms, though chill and dim, smelling of dust and turpentine, and not as fine or comfortable as ours in Cork had once been, before father had sold the better things at auction; my uncle's parlor was filled with surprising objects—paintings were everywhere leaned in stacks and hung to the ceiling, dimly visible, and curiosities that invited touch: an animal's skull, a plaster cast of a horse head and of a human arm and leg, canvases on which he had begun to sketch in charcoal. The figures in his paintings had a twisting, tortured look, the way I had imagined the tormented in hell when my mother took us to church.

I waited perhaps a quarter hour, perhaps an hour or two; I must have dozed after the long travel, for I did not hear the charwoman depart and woke to a storm of sound.

He blew in like a northern gale, his voice booming from the foyer, resonant in the parlor, where I sat waiting.

"Damn it all to hell. Where is that catastrophe of a girl? Sibyl! Where in Christ's name has she put my things? Every time she cleans, she hides my things. Last week it took me two days to find a sketch I was on. Two days."

I heard another voice, a rhythm I did not recognize, the words rounded and warm, like the farmers who spoke the old tongue in the villages outside Cork, though this sounded more like a sort of French, like the baker's wife, who'd come from Calais. "—true revolution is born not of a change in government but in the way men think and feel."

"You needn't lecture me; I've lectured at the academy on that very point. For all the good it did."

"It must have done some, surely. Lord Basken is eager to establish a subscription on your behalf."

"Is he? Well, he need be quick about it before I starve."

I had rehearsed on the journey to London the speech my mother would have me say by way of introduction, as none was there to make one for me. But when the two men entered the parlor, I was startled into silence. I recognized my uncle immediately from the self-portrait I had seen. He had my mother's face, my own.

It took them a moment to notice I was there, my uncle going through his letters. The taller man saw me first.

"A gift from your charwoman?" the tall man asked. His hair was thick and white; muttonchop sideburns framed a broad and pleasant face. He was dark, as were his eyes. Child that I was, even I could recognize that he was uncommonly handsome.

"How in Christ's name did that get in here?" my uncle said.

"Your maid, sir," I replied, standing.

"You are her relation?" he asked.

"No, sir. I am yours."

The handsome man laughed. Clapped my uncle on the shoulder. "Congratulations, Jonathan. You appear to be a father."

"I am no such thing. What are you?" my uncle demanded. "Explain yourself before I call the constable."

I forgot my speech almost entirely in my fear, stammering out that I'd come from Cork, hurriedly explaining who I was and how I'd come. I did not say why.

I was a slight thing then, a sprite of a child, undersized and pale.

"What wood nymph is this?" the tall man asked, stepping closer. "Have you brought us one of the famed little people of your land, Jonathan?"

"I am not a little person," I said, piqued by his condescension. "I am a child."

He smiled. "And how old are you, child?" The tall man squatted before me to look me in the eye.


He raised an eyebrow at this. My size must have suggested otherwise.

"Nine and a quarter," I admitted. (Later, historians will debate the point, of course, whether I was nine that afternoon in London or fourteen, whether I was born in 1790 or 1795. Does it matter? As Menander wrote, "Judge me not by my age but by the wisdom I display among you.")

"I am General Fernando de Mirandus," the man said, bowing his head. He spoke as if I should know the name, or as if he were pleased that it was his. "It is a great pleasure." He stood again.

"Wonderful," I said.

General Mirandus looked bemused. "A wonderful pleasure?"

"Your name," I said. "In Latin. General Wonderful."

He laughed. "Do you know Latin, child?"

I knew only a little, what my father had taught us on Sunday afternoons, so what I said surprised us both: "Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto."

I've no idea why the Roman playwright's words came to mind. Only that they did, and that the general appeared delighted. He laughed to hear me quote Terence: "I am a man, so nothing human is foreign to me."

"Why, she's a prodigy, Jonathan," he said, turning to my uncle. "Your little niece is a prodigy."

"I was a prodigy," my uncle said, turning to a cabinet behind him on a far wall. "Burke called me so himself. Will you have a glass of port?" My uncle filled two glasses.

"But she's a marvel," Mirandus said, looking me over as if I were indeed a fairy. I sensed he was not referring simply to my modest attainments in Latin.

"She has had a little learning. That is all. It's the rage to educate even girls."

"As it should be," Mirandus said.

My uncle drank off his glass, poured another.

Mirandus crouched down before me again. "What brings you here, child?"

My mother's words came back to me then: "I have come to speak with my uncle," I said. "In. Private."

"Speak," my uncle said, dropping into a chair, not offering me one. The general gallantly pulled up an ottoman for me, inclining his head to indicate that I might sit. I stood facing my uncle instead, preferring to meet him eye to eye. He propped his feet on the ottoman, so I faced his bootheels, the soles dirty from the street.

I had expected that a man concerned for and capable of producing such beauty would be beautiful himself; I was shocked to find him coarse, vain, belligerent, as if all the loveliness in him had been transferred to the canvases hung to the rafters, propped against the walls. Leaving him none.

But it made it easier. Had he been kind, I'd have felt obliged by his kindness; showing none, he liberated me to feel what I truly felt: dislike of him and my own need.


At the time I did not comprehend my uncle's distress and mistook it for dislike of me; I didn't know that he'd recently been dismissed from the Royal Academy—for criticizing the professors there, making "improper digressions" in his lectures, which is to say, picking fights with the powerful, which one rarely wins—the only Academy artist to whom this had ever happened (and the last to whom it would, for more than two hundred years).

More than his pride had been wounded. The academy had paid his salary and commissioned his murals for years. Now his income was in question. He was desperate for money, as we were. Harried by fear. But in that first interview I would learn an important lesson: that one could disguise vulnerability with arrogance and disdain. My mother's gentility had availed us little since my brother's calamity; my uncle offered another possibility, and a lesson: one might mask fear with belligerence. I might, too.

Perhaps my uncle would have answered my mother's letter if he'd been doing well, despite their decades-long estrangement, if only for the pleasure that siblings take in showing the other up; he might have been generous to us to underscore her need. But he couldn't afford such a slight. Like us, he was hungry. But unlike us, as a man, he had honorable means by which to make his way in the world.


  • "How should Barry be considered? Trans? Male? Female? Levy opts for the last, adopting that perspective so her narrator can explore — sometimes painfully, sometimes wittily, always persuasively — the differences between a woman’s experience of Georgian and Victorian society and the masculine freedom to be found when those social constrictions are eased."—Alida Becker, New York Times Book Review
  • "Levy’s assured, persuasive debut novel is based on a real-life 19th-century physician, James Miranda Barry, who was born Margaret Anne Bulkley. The book explores the differences between a woman’s experience of Georgian and Victorian society and the masculine freedom to be found when social constrictions are eased.”

    New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)
  • “Historical fiction at its best….The story is a good one, but it is the exquisite writing and the portrayal of women in the first half of the 19th century that make ‘The Cape Doctor’ such an intriguing book….In real life, Barry made significant contributions to medicine. The Cape Doctor is a literary contribution that will enthrall readers with clever writing and a sympathetic story.”—Denver Post
  • “Though it's a compelling story of one particular transformation, this wise, emotionally resonant novel makes an intelligent, heartfelt plea for compassion as it sifts through the wrongheaded assumptions we make about identity…. Levy's fearless depiction of Margaret/Jonathan, her authentic rendering of this voice, her fleshing out of a little-known historical character full of complications."—Connie Ogle, Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • The Cape Doctor is a rare achievement: equal parts brains and heart, a page-turner and a deeply moving exploration of precisely what it means to be human. E. J. Levy breaks open what we think we know about gender, identity, and love and shines a light on the devastating limits of each. I can’t stop thinking about this gorgeous, thoughtful, heartbreaking book.”—Lauren Fox, New York Times bestselling author of Send for Me
  • The Cape Doctor does what the best novels do.  It invites us to put aside our own lives for a time in order to live someone else’s. And it repays the moral imagination that requires with something like wisdom.”—Richard Russo, author of Chances Are...
  • "The Cape Doctor is one of those rare wonders of historical fiction: a novel that is so utterly transporting, so fully steeped in its time and place I kept looking up from the page and wondering where I was. And how did E.J. Levy do it? Was she there? The story of its hero Dr. Perry, an Irish woman practicing medicine under cover as a man in nineteenth-century South Africa raises powerful contemporary questions about the nature of border crossings – of gender, of class, and ultimately of love."

    Sarah Blake, bestselling author of The Postmistress
  • “E.J. Levy’s compelling novel The Cape Doctor, born at the intersection of history and imagination, powerfully examines the fluidity and complexity of gender. Levy offers a profound meditation on identity, loneliness, and love. The Cape Doctor provides everything I come to a novel hoping for—graceful prose, first-rate storytelling, and an irresistible protagonist observed with deep compassion. I admired and adored this book.”—Lori Ostlund, author of After the Parade
  • "A remarkable reimagining of a remarkable life. The narrator of The Cape Doctor – courageous, lonely, vivid – lingers in the mind like a departed friend."                                                        —Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian
  • "An elegant and provocative spin on the life of trans icon James Miranda Barry. . . . Perry’s narration brims with fascinating details about medicine and social mores of the time. This beautifully written work will spark much debate."—Publishers Weekly
  • "Levy has done an absolutely superb job of novelizing Barry’s life while her realization of him as a character is flawless. He is brilliant, impetuous, unafraid (perhaps foolishly) of making enemies in a good cause, an ardent supporter of women’s rights and an equally ardent enemy of slavery. . . . And the book is beautifully written."—Booklist (starred review)
  • "[A] resplendent debut novel...sure to create lively discussion."

    Janet Somerville, Toronto Star
  • "[A] voyage across genders and the world, a courageous journey from which women and society benefit today — a journey worth reading."

    Harriet Zaidman, Winnipeg Free Press
  • Praise for Love, in Theory

    "A brilliant debut . . . Sad, funny, and always wise, Levy's stories reveal truths about how we love and lose, trust and betray, with an intelligence that takes my breath away. I'll be returning to these wonderful stories again and again."--Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

    "In all the stories in Love, In Theory...[t] here is rarely a word out of place, and each story offers a new meditation, if you will, on the nature of love without giving in to cliché. This is a smart, smart book."--Roxane Gay, author of Hunger

    "Levy is a genuine talent, a unique and powerful voice, with a gift for the sort of close and subtle observation of the world and its people that characterizes great literature."--Lee Martin, Pulitzer-Prize finalist, author of The Bright Forever

On Sale
Jun 15, 2021
Page Count
352 pages

E. J. Levy

About the Author

E.J. Levy has been featured in Best American Essays, the New York Times, and the Paris Review, among other publications, and has received a Pushcart Prize. Her debut story collection, Love, In Theory, won the 2012 Flannery O'Connor Award and the 2014 Great Lakes Colleges Association's New Writers Award (previously awarded to Alice Munro and Louise Erdrich for first books); a French edition is forthcoming from Editions Rivages. Her anthology, Tasting Life Twice: Literary Lesbian Fiction by New American Writers, won a Lambda Literary Award. A graduate of Yale, she earned an MFA from Ohio State University, where she held a Presidential Fellowship; she teaches in the MFA Program at Colorado State University.

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