I believe in love at first sight.
Not that I’m romantic. On the contrary, I believe that love is not destiny, but body chemistry. You meet someone, and almost immediately–even before you know it–you know that you want to spend all your time with him, that you want to breathe the smell of him inside you, that you want to run your hands and your lips down his back, bury your nose in his chest. And he looks at you, and he knows that about you, and he wants almost the same things from you: the birthmark beside your belly button, your breasts, the curve of your hip under his hand, his lips on your thighs, the smell of you inside him.
Not that I’m saying it’s entirely physical. I’m not talking about lust, after all. What divides it from lust is the eyes. You want inside his eyes, and he wants inside yours, and you both know it in your gut before you know it in your brain–you feel it curled there like something has taken root and begun to grow. You also feel it in your arms, your lower back, your neck. It’s a tingling sensation, as though you’re suddenly aware of the blood moving in your veins.
You could back away. You could deny the gut, but it’s not easy, because the gut makes the brain do funny things. And if you’d prefer not to resist, you can always blame it on bad luck. Or bad dreams.
“It is easy to forget, sometimes, that writers write because they are in love with words, their endless combinations, their energy, their echoes, the clues they might provide. In Make Believe Love, Lee Gowan reminds us.” —Bonnie Burnard
“Gowan makes some marvellous observations about small- and large-town life [told with] wry, insider wit. [The] tension between what is and what seems to be – unrequited love or scary obsession, fame or notoriety, truth or history – is at the core of this strong first novel.” — Quill & Quire
“Make Believe Love is lively and entertaining.” — National Post
”Wonderfully comic [with] a quintessentially Saskatchewan touch.… [Gowan] evokes the province in amusing yet loving detail. A fable about love in the electronic age…a romp [with a] breezy style, zippy dialogue and lightly drawn characters.” — The Toronto Star
“Extraordinary…. Make Believe Love arrives as a sly look at modern day celebrity, a whimsical indictment of hero worship in our society, a guileless attack on our obsessions wit fame, a satirical fable for the new millennium…. Gowan handles the comedy deftly…. A quirky read. With his scattergun plot twists and eccentric characterizations, Gowan owes a sizeable debt to American cult favourite Tom Robbins. To his credit, the novel works on many levels. As a caustic critique on celebrity in our times, Make Believe Love is the real deal.” — The Hamilton Spectator
“[A] smart and funny first novel…a lightly caustic comedy that has some startlingly dark things to say about love, intimacy and self-delusion…. Gowan exhibits a sure hand with plotting…. But the most appealing aspect of his writing here is how he sidesteps the sterotypes readers have about the sort of people and places that are scattered across the Prairies.” — Eye Weekly
“[An] offbeat tale…. The characters he creates…are highly imaginative, and the twists and turns the plot takes are more so. [A] fast-paced story…. Gowan sketches in a carefully drawn sense of place…. Engaging.” — The Star Phoenix (Saskatoon)
“Intriguing…skillfully drawn…. Gowan [has a] talent for exceptional characterization…. A worthy read.” — Calgary Herald (Pearl Luke)
“[Gowan] writes with a clean, crisp style and an engaging, well-paced narrative….[An] entertaining read.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“A promising debut…. Gowan’s command of language, his sense of place, his subject matter all make him a writer worth watching–and his main character, Joan Swift, is hard to forget. Most of all, she’s believable even when you’re not sure you believe her.” —The Gazette (Montreal)
“The book is quirky, entertaining and beautifully conveys the languorous atmosphere of the prairie landscape.” — Anne Tobin, Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 1 Apr 2001
“The real pleasures of this book are the dark wit and often striking perceptions that spill from Joan’s pen as she attempts to get real, and get even.” — Jim Bartley, Globe and Mail
“Make Believe Love is a comedy that refuses to get cynical or mean. Its daffy story and evenness of temper evoke some of Canadian fiction’s past accomplishments, such as the small-town sketches of early Robertson Davies by way of…Maragret Atwood’s…Lady Oracle…Lee Gowan’s debut is funny and laid-back…shot through with affection…”
— Vancouver Sun