From Monica Lewinsky to Lara Flynn Boyle, stories of younger women attracted to powerful or rich older men have become something of a cultural obsession. Quite timely, then, is Choose Me, Evelyn Lau's collection of stories about women who have (usually unwisely) entered into relationships with older men. While initially drawn to the power of these men, the female characters in Choose Me are soon repulsed by the physical deterioration and diminishing energy of their conquests. Mostly they are high on the desire the men feel for them, the incredible longing a man who has lived a lifetime feels for a young, beautiful woman who seems to be just starting hers.
Some of the women in Lau's stories are interlopers, pulling on the threads of unravelling marriages. Others are star-struck, like Belinda in "Suburbia," who finds, early in her infatuation with her former professor Jeremy, that "the dry white lines across his forehead, the creases at his ears, only made him more attractive to her." Later, though, "she looked at her lover and it seemed to her then that he was small and pitiful, an aging man." Occasionally, as in "The Summer Place," the men are unavailable and desire never regresses into repulsion. From her first published book, the autobiographical Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid, Evelyn Lau's ruthlessly personal writing has made her one of Canada's best-known authors. Her stories in Choose Me, by blurring the lines of desire and power between men and women, make for fascinating reading. --Moe Berg