Everything you need to understand or teach Long Distance by Jane Smiley.
"Long Distance" begins with the main character, Kirby Christianson, in the shower, anxious about a visit from Mieko, a Japanese woman with whom he is having an affair. He finishes his shower and answers the ringing phone, annoyed; it is Mieko, calling from Japan. She tells him that she cannot make it to the United States to visit with him over Christmas because she has to stay with her father, who has lung cancer. This was the only chance that Mieko had to come to the United States because she had lied to her family and said that she was coming for a literature conference, a supposedly onetime event. The realization that Mieko will never be able to come to see him and that their relationship is effectively over has a strange effect on Kirby. He feels relieved because he was not sure that he could live up to Mieko's... View more of the Long Distance Summary