Constance DeJong’s long-neglected 1977 novel, Modern Love, is one thing made up of many: It is science fiction. It is a detective story. It is a historical episode in the time of the Armada and the dislocation of Sephardic Jews from Spain to an eventual location in New York’s Lower East Side. It is a first-person narrator’s story; Charlotte’s story; and Roderigo’s; and Fifi Corday’s. It is a 150-year-old story about Oregon and the story of a house in Oregon. Modern Love’s continuity is made of flow and motion; like an experience, it accumulates as you read, at that moment, through successive moments, right to the end.

An important figure of downtown New York’s performance art and burgeoning media art scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, DeJong designed Modern Love herself and published it with help from Dorothea Tanning on the short-lived Standard Editions imprint.

Nick James Scavo
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