Small Acts of Sex and Electricity

Small Acts of Sex and Electricity


  • Reminiscent of sections of Ann Patchett’s ‘Bel Canto’ or even Rebecca West’s ‘The Return of the Soldier’—here we have the same blissful menage, based on impossible circumstances that carry the seeds of their own destruction. —The San Francisco Chronicle
  • Through vivid, descriptive storytelling, Haines creates memorable female characters who burn their way into your psyche. These unsettling characters often don’t do what you expect them to do…. [small acts of sex and electricity is] the type of work easily devoured by women’s book clubs. —The Chicago Sun Times
  • A lyrical, earnest second novel…touching…[a] sexy summer read. —Publishers Weekly
  • Lise Haines’s characters are…fiercely intelligent, provocatively funny, and profoundly aware of the complexities of love and friendship.  As small acts of sex and electricity joyfully reminds us, here is an author who writes like no one else.  Our world is the richer for her glittering work. Margot Livesey
  • The closed doors, crackling tension and heady atmospherics imbue small acts of sex and electricity with a welcome subtlety that is often missing in novels about female friendships. And Haines, rather than succumb to the pitfalls of the token happy ending, has followed the wise advice of Chekov: ‘When you want to touch a reader’s heart, try to be colder. It gives their grief, as it were, a background against which it stand out in greater relief. The San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Lise Haines’s wonderful new novel, small acts of sex and electricity, holds the reader enthralled from beginning to end as it explores the boundaries of sex, love and friendship.  Very few writers could have pulled off the twists and turns within these relationships with such grace and strength. Jill McCorkle
  • [S]wells with the sounds of the Pacific Ocean and imagery so vivid and unique that the reader will be an entranced with the sights and sounds as with the introspective and complex issues of relationships the novel addresses. A normal day at the beach with ‘pelicans diving into the coean’ is in vivid constrast to ‘all the rooms of Jane’s psychid house…though I thought I knew where ht worms were buried…I ripped up her lawn and laid the pink bodies of childhood end to end.’ The controversial and moral issues are ripe for mature book club discussion and self-discovery.” The Book
  • Haines skillfully uses flashback and rapid-fire dialogue to make and keep things credible as Mattie takes over Jane’s life in this oddly compelling tale of loss—and losing detachment. Booklist
  • A strange, sexual and dark look at personal bonds and friendship…It’s destructively interesting plot, as motherhood, sexuality, aging and honor all come into play…small acts of sex and electricity—-breezes by in moments and finds in its characters the unrecognizable places that do, in fact, exist. NewCity Chicago
  • It’s a situation fraught with all the best kinds of literary tensions: sexual infidelity, children’s resentment, and the inevitable showdown between pals-turned-competitors. The relationship between Mattie and Jane is complex and believeable. [Haines] aims an observant eye at life’s oddities. Library Journal

This “lyrical, earnest second novel” [Publisher’s Weekly] from the author of In My Sister’s Country is the story of two women whose love for the same man challenges their lifelong friendship. Jane has everything that her best friend, Mattie thinks she wants–despite the visible cracks in Jane’s psyche. But Jane’s sudden inheritance from her grandmother—a California beach house and an extensive estate of artworks and antiques—finally unhinges her. And so, early one morning, she drives away, leaving her husband, Mike, and their two daughters in the care of Mattie, her childhood friend. With Jane’s sudden departure, Mattie recalls all the years she has walked along the edges of her friend’s world. The women quickly change places as Jane leaves Mattie to make sense of the estate, to calm Jane’s daughters, and to fall in love with Mike—for the second time. small acts of sex and electricity was a BookSense Pick and one of ten “Best Book Picks for 2006” by the NPR station in San Diego.

Click here to listen to a PODCAST. Haines reads aloud from Small Acts of Sex and Electricity and talks about her writing life.


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