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A Longing for Impossible Things

'A Longing for Impossible Things' cover image

A Longing for Impossible Things

A powerful short story collection that charts the yearning inherent in imperfect lives.

"I'm a seeker," the narrator of "My Life as a Mystic" says. "A watcher of the skies. A pilgrim and a wanderer. I don't know, I couldn't stand law school." Such are the polar sentiments of the characters in the stories of David Borofka's A Longing for Impossible Things, which charts the yearning inherent in imperfect lives.

Taking their cue from Fernando Pessoa's "painful landscape" of longing for the impossible, the ministers and missionaries of "Fire" and "Coincidence" look for more than what they find in their respective theologies; they reject what they've been told in favor of what they feel. Meanwhile, everyday believers fall back upon their own intuition and pray for revelation to be forthcoming. Lovers are forced to recognize the finite limitations of their grand infatuations even as they hope for some small measure of long-lasting tenderness, while teenagers resign themselves to the inevitable disappointments of adult life, recognizing the threats that exist in a future that is yet to unfold. And, as the narrator of "Attachments for the Platonically Inclined" says in the context of a 300 game in bowling, "I can't help but be reminded of perfection when perfection was difficult to find. And impossible to hold onto. Reminded that there are moments when everything works as it is supposed to, a harmony beyond applause or appreciation from others."