The Hypothetical Girl is featured
as Oprah's "Book of the Week"
A new release the editors of O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading.
some other works
"Love meets technology with a
dash of quirk in this collection of highly original short stories"
An aspiring actress meets an Icelandic Yak farmer on a matchmaking website. An online forum for cancer support turns into a love triangle for an English professor, a Canadian fisherman, and an elementary school teacher living in Japan. A deer and a polar bear flirt via Skype.
In The Hypothetical Girl a menagerie of characters graze and jockey, play and hook up in the online dating world with mixed and sometimes dark results. Flirting and communicating in chat rooms, through texts, e-mails, and IMs, they grope their way through a virtual maze of potential mates, falling in and out of what they think and hope may be true love. With levity and high style, Cohen takes her readers into a world where screen and keyboard meet the heart, with consequences that range from wonderful to weird.
The Hypothetical Girl captures all the mystery, misery, and magic of the eternal search for human connection.
Click play to listen to to Elizabeth talk about her new book.
Fiction - Short Stories (single author)
EXCERPT FROM "LOVE, REALLY"
LISTEN TO ME TALK ABOUT THE BOOK
praise for the hypothetical girl
“Elizabeth Cohen’s stories, with their deep eternal truths, pop into the now with all the promise, hope,
of an IM from a secret love.”
- WENDY LAWLESS,
AUTHOR OF CHANEL BONFIRE
“These stories kick some serious ass. If you’re looking for love you’ll find it right here!”
- DAVID KIDD,
AND SCREEN WRITER OF
YOURS, MINE AND OURS
“Cohen has the eye of an anthropologist, the wit of a satirist, and the brevity of
- JILL EISENSTADT,
AUTHOR OF FROM
ROCKAWAY AND KISS OUT
and heartbreaking, Cohen’s stories tackle love and
all its discontents in a way you’ve never experienced before.”
- CAROLINE LEAVITT,
NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF PICTURES OF YOU
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256 pages • ISBN: 978-1-59051-582-2
256 pages • ISBN: 978-1-59051-583-9
256 pages • ASIN: B00BE24UPE
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The Hypothetical Girl
Submit your best, worst, scariest
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AT THE INK WELL
There are more than 2,500 online dating sites in the U.S. and more than 5,000 worldwide, according to Online Dating Magazine.
The Internet has opened up worlds of opportunities for people who are shy, or for those would never talk to each other in the light of day, said Elizabeth Cohen, author of The Hypothetical Girl (Other Press), which launches August 4.
Cohen’s debut short story collection shows how complicated, quirky and bizarre online dating can be. Although the sites try to help singles efficiently sift through the non-compatibles, it is impossible to escape the unexpected. This could be a good or bad thing as Cohen portrays in The Hypothetical Girl.
Through the “tangle of wires and laser signals” of the Internet, the characters in this first collection of stories from Cohen, author of the memoir The Family on Beartown Road, explore the frontiers of online romance, “where no human foot could tread.” In “Death by Free Verse,” Myra, a poet, engages in an e-mail flirtation written in limericks with a world-traveling man until she breaks form with a free verse love poem that is met with a mysterious silence. A wealthy 31-year-old Icelandic yak farmer and a 23-year-old model and aspiring poet meet on Catch.com, in “People Who Live Far, Far Away,” only to discover each has something to hide. And in the title story, a woman believes she is vanishing after a man online tells her she’s hypothetical. With desperation or ambivalence, obsession or just plain hope, Cohen’s characters navigate the mysterious etiquette of digital-age romance, often getting lost in the fever of a potential idyllic relationship that falters by the first date. Though many of these stories parallel each other and occasionally slip into bitter, cynical narratives, Cohen is at her best when she departs from conventional romantic comedy plots and explores what we think about when we anticipate love.
reviews for the hypothetical girl
Professor writes about new language of love By AMY HEGGEN
PLATTSBURGH - Elizabeth Cohen first attempted fiction when she was 12, but it didn’t turn out quite right.
At 53, she tried again with “The Hypothetical Girl,” a collection of stories about online dating and what technology has done to love.
As an assistant professor of English at SUNY Plattsburgh, Cohen’s teaching focuses on poetry and writing memoirs, but her imagination took over when she began encountering people through online-dating sites.
“These stories came to me and asked to be written. I know that sounds crazy and silly,” Cohen said.
Cohen turned to the Internet to find love after her marriage ended, and she began to piece together stories about the people she met online. Although none of the stories are entirely true or follow her life, the core of the book is something that is real to her, she said.
Figuring out your writing process is like figuring out what you want to be when you grow up. The only way to figure out that you like to write in your parked car while rain drums the roof (been there), is through trial and error. That’s why I like to hear what works for other writers. Where they write. Why they write. It goes a long way in the inspiration department. Twice a month, we’ll meet a new writer—someone I admire who can teach us a thing or two about making writing strides. Subscribe to be the first to meet them.
With no further ado, Meet Elizabeth Cohen.
I studied with Elizabeth at the University of Western Connecticut MFA program, where I quickly learned that she has a knack for understanding the writing process and the business of writing.
In one workshop, she helped each of us identify an angle for our book that would make it unique and salable but stay true to the story. I resisted. I couldn’t envision my work as a finished book, and Elizabeth understood why before I did. She said, “I get it! You don’t know your ending yet.”