Edwin Weihe teaches modern literature and directs the Film Studies Program at Seattle University. A graduate of Brown University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he studied with Richard Yates and Kurt Vonnegut, he has been a Senior Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature and Culture in Aachen, Germany, and in Antwerp and Leuven, Belgium, and has lectured widely in Europe on interdisciplinary topics in literature, philosophy, and art. For the past 21 years, he has been teaching a summer abroad course in Paris on the Rise of Modernism. 

The fictional territory of Another Life,  this disquieting first collection of stories, is a state of emergency, and for Weihe the emergency is always the same: It is the terrifying possibility that one will be caught, in any instant - as a nocturnal jogger might in the blinding headlights of an oncoming car - without a fully realized life, a life of passion and love, above all. 
    In "Girl in the Coat," a professor is seduced by a desperate young woman into a decision too sudden and mysterious to defend. The husband of "Love Spots" drives his provocatively dressed wife around Seattle on a nostalgic and finally nightmarish search for a place to make love in a car now too small and divided. 
    In "Off Season," a young man, whose wild and loving mother deserts him for a perfect stranger, clings incestuously to his sister until yet another stranger appears. In "All Clear," a divorced father, locked to his young son for a few interminable hours, waits out his ex-wife's passionate "emergency" with her new lover.
In the novella, "Another Life," an American writer, who has "no ear for any language but his own," returns to Paris for an international conference on Ernest Hemingway. In a subtle interweaving and counterpointing of his own life with Hemingway's in the Twenties, he re-searches, in memory, a life fully lived, in the body, in art, and in the "moveable feast" of loss.


An excerpt from the novella, “Another Life”:

My first evening in Paris I walked over to Boulevard St-Germain. It was late spring so already many of the cafés and restaurants reached far out onto the crowded sidewalks. There the stream of us either spilled over the curb or suddenly narrowed and jammed up almost to a standstill. Everyone sitting out front at the small round tables was drinking and talking and looking very earnestly at each other and also looking past each other. The French women had strong, beautiful legs and they knew how to cross them. I walked over to rue Bonaparte, looked in at a hotel there, then came back up to St-Germain-des-Pres. I found a table at Les Deux Magots where it is said that Jean Paul Sartre wrote Being and Nothingness. I envisioned him sitting away  from the noisy street in the corner, his back turned, his face cockeyed and buried in paper and three packs of Gauloise. There was nothing on the menu I wanted, so after a glass of pastis, I tried to apologize to the waiter, left a ridiculous tip, and got up. I crossed to the less crowded, south side of the boulevard and walked back in the direction of St-Michel. I remembered an English bookshop in the area that used to be open at night. But after searching for twenty minutes, I lost interest and ended up in front of the Cinema Odeon.

I stood on the busy sidewalk next to a woman who, like myself, was looking up at the row of six film posters over the ticket window. The woman, in her mid-thirties, was short but very striking, and wore a light, black wool jacket with large pockets she kept taking her hands in and out of. When they were out, they sat firmly on her slender waist, the jacket swept back, breasts thrown forward. She seemed quite anxious, even angry, as if the movie she came all the way across Paris to see - and which film was that, exactly?-- was about to begin without her. I was trying to remember the real names of the five American films. Their bizarre French titles made them seem like different films altogether. Once inside, the subtitles, if you looked at them, only confirmed one's confusion. I was reminded that I actually knew someone in Paris, a friend of Ray Walker's, who dubbed films for a living. French to English, English to French. It was difficult to imagine being in two languages - two places, really - at once. I had no ear for any language but my own. When I glanced back down at the woman, it struck me that she andI had stood together long enough now, and close enough, passersby might have mistaken us for the sort of husband and wife who, locked in the same orbit, never have to look at each other. Of course I looked at her. Her dark, Mediterranean eyes - possibly Algerian - paced back and forth like panthers in a cage. Hollywood, it seems, offered her no refuge. Hollywood or Poland. And yet it was clear - I could see the bone-white knuckles peeking out of her jacket sleeves - this woman needed to make up her mind, quick. She wanted to act, queue up, sit it out with all the others in the strange dark of the theater.

I had an old impulse to rescue her. My former wife, Carol, believed that anyone entering a movie theater alone was certifiably desperate. The fire alarm's gone off, she said. Don't you hear it? Somebody's burning with loneliness. In the dark, that flasher loneliness, she knew, would expose itself. It would molest, or commit suicide, or murder and murder again until somebody recognized it, flipped on the lights, screamed for help. One of our several marriage-saving rituals required that whenever the urge was there, in either of us, to slip off alone to the movies, into the gloom of the tangled wood, that was the signal we should high tail it for bed and our own blue movies under the sheet.

I had no such ambitions for this woman at the Cinema Odeon. I had been in Paris only a few hours and had told myself I wanted to stretch out my economy-class legs on the long boulevard. On the other hand, I know now I really had been searching, womanward, and this is where it would begin, with her.

I asked her, "Vous aimez les film americaine?"

An interminable moment passed until she looked up and said: "Yes, of course. Why not?"