The simple cover of All Stories are Love Stories is quite descriptive. What kinds of things make those marks? Earthquakes and heartbeats which indicate life and the absence of which indicate death.
This book is set in the present day on Valentine’s Day. A massive earthquake hits the city of San Francisco which the reader experiences through a motley crew of survivors. There are quotes referring to the last big earthquake in 1906 at the beginning of many of the chapters.
This is very much realistic fiction, but the element of this huge natural disaster pushes it into another realm, adding more interest for me, and of course a source of dramatic tension.
Max and Vashti are high school sweethearts, but an unexpected event and tragedy pulled them apart all those years ago. Vashti married, but when her husband died, she kept dreaming vividly of Max. Her sister dares her to just go see him and talk to him.
Gene and Franklin are dealing with different life issues. Gene is up for tenure in his teaching job, and sick of the commute to Franklin’s inn. Franklin’s health is deteriorating, and Gene wonders if maybe a promotion will be the push they’ve needed to move out of the city once and for all.
To say that disasters make one assess their life is trite, but aphorisms exist for a reason — they are true. The characters each think about who they are and who they want to be, strengths and weaknesses — sometimes internally and other times in conversation with fellow survivors.
I was not familiar with the author Elizabeth Percer, but her writing has earned her many accolades. She writes well, and I liked the way she created such a rich and unparalleled setting. The ending felt rushed to me, and some of the neat bows that tied up the storylines came out of nowhere, but I did enjoy the multi-chapter epilogue that helped the story arc beyond the one day.