The first thing that drew me to E.B. Lyndon’s “Goodbye, Bear” was the voice. It felt fresh and modern and full of energy, and I loved the wit, intelligence and humor, as well as the fast-paced dialogues that battered back and forth like a game of tennis on speed. But it was the character of Blago—that Skype-loving, clarinet-playing, plane-fearing boyfriend in the story who won me over for good. How can someone so initially repellent become so damn charming? As the pages turned, he began to remind me of Ignatius from John Kennedy Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces, and like that extraordinary novel, “Goodbye Bear” is about how hard it can be to truly connect with each other, especially these days, as we fall away from religion, connect more online than in person, and have lost the social pressure to marry or have children before we are, say, 40. It’s no wonder that the narrator of “Goodbye, Bear” finds herself at a spiritual crossroads when it comes to love. Throw in a family wedding, and the resulting sparks as she parries with Blago and navigates her inner life are at turns hilarious and emotionally resonating. Be sure to visit Lyndon’s Q&A where she talks about the inspiration behind this piece, and the writing advice George Saunders gave her that made all the difference.