The Mysterious Life of the Heart is a writing collection that examines the many and diverse facets of romantic love. It compiles fifty essays, short fiction stories, and poems written by fifty different authors for the literary magazine The Sun. If you haven’t read The Sun, you should. It is an independent, non-profit, and ad-free publication that publishes the work of emerging writers and photographers in their monthly issues. They describe themselves as attempting “to marry the personal and political; to honor the genuine and the spiritual; to see what kind of roommates beauty and truth can be; and to show that powerful teaching can be found in the lives of ordinary people.” This, we believe they accomplish in each new issue but particularly in the book The Mysterious Life of the Heart. This book takes on the challenge of guiding its readers through both a surprising and familiar trajectory of romantic love. The writings feel relatable yet each one holds something mysterious and slightly poetic, leaving us feeling a but jarred each time we finish a story.
The book leads you through a series of experiences and characters that stick in your mind–a college kid developing an ecstasy crush on a stranger, a couple mourning the loss of their child, a woman’s fondness for a goose, a man mooning over his lover’s hair, an aging woman with cancer discovering her sexiness…
The book left me feeling bittersweet at the end. The book itself was something I loved and had to leave (I am always so sad when I have to leave a good book. Does that happen to you?), but it is full of messy, mysterious, and thrilling moments that have been polished into little shining gems and it inspired me to mentally do the same with my own memories of love.