Michael Lowenthal’s fifth book and first story collection, Sex with Strangers (University of Wisconsin Press) is a book of clever misdirections. His characters often reveal themselves to be far different than who they think they are. From cruise-boat priests to aid workers to single mothers, Lowenthal’s characters meditate on what it means to be fulfilled when life throws one curveball after another. If there’s a common thread that runs through the eight stories in Sex with Strangers besides Lowenthal’s keenly observant, precise prose, it’s that life never goes according to plan.
Lowenthal was my mentor for a semester at Lesley University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program, where he continues to teach. We caught up via email to talk about his new book and discussed a variety of topics including global inequality, the nature of disappointment, and the evolution of the gay rights movement over the past several decades.
Read the rest of the interview at the Los Angeles Review of Books.