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The Course of Love

The Course of Love (2016)

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Title:The Course of Love
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The Course of Love: A Novel by Alain De Botton (2016)



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English (14)  Italian (2)  All languages (16)
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Un romanzo che in realtà è un saggio sull'amore, sulle relazioni, sul matrimonio. Intelligente. ( )
  lucaconti | Jan 24, 2019 |
This is a title I wanted to read because I've heard the author speak in the media over the years and always found him insightful. He did not disappoint. The book switches between the story and the author's thoughts on the particular topic, which is unusual, but it is also what makes it fiction as opposed to just essays. Which was smart because I wouldn't have read a book of essays.

I am going to take advantage of the fact that this was not an advance reader copy by leaving some quotes I particularly liked:
We would ideally remain able to laugh, in the gentlest way, when we are made the special target of a sulker's fury. We would recognize the touching paradox. The sulker may be six foot one and holding down adult employment, but the real message is poignantly retrogressive: "Deep inside, I remain an infant, and right now I need you to be my parent. I need you correctly to guess what is truly ailing me, as people did when I was a baby, when my ideas of love were first formed."

Choosing a person to marry is hence just a matter of deciding exactly what kind of suffering we want to endure rather than of assuming we have found a way to skirt the rules of emotional existence.

Regarding blame and disappointments in life:
The accusations we make of our lovers make no particular sense. We would utter such unfair things to no one else on earth. But our wild charges are a peculiar proof of intimacy and trust, a symptom of love itself- and in their own way a perverted manifestation of commitment. Whereas we can say something sensible and polite to any stranger, it is only in the presence of the lover we wholeheartedly believe in that we can dare to be extravagantly and boundlessly unreasonable.

Speaking of teaching lessons to children:
The dream is to save the child time; to pass on in one go insights that required arduous and lengthy experience to accumulate. But the progress of the human race is at every turn stymied by an ingrained resistance to being rushed to conclusions. We are held back by an inherent interest in reexploring entire chapters in the back catalogue of our species' idiocies- and to wasting a good part of life finding out for ourselves what has already been extensively and painfully charted by others. ( )
  heike6 | Mar 19, 2018 |
I am very easily charmed by Botton, okay? He's very charming. On Love was charming. The way he intersperses this story of a fictional marriage with philosophy and relationship advice is charming. And if I hadn't read Dept. of Speculation in between reading this book and reviewing it, this would probably be a very different review.

First! I really did adore this novel when I as reading it. I read it on vacation, mostly in the car, and ended up reading long sections aloud to my husband -- mostly the sections on parenting. I think it did give me some valuable insights on how couples behave in conflict, enough to be grateful that neither my husband nor I experienced any great crises in attachment as children, and to make me possibly even more invested in protecting my children from such disruptions.

But, I did read Dept. of Speculation, which made me so viscerally furious about the way our society deals with men having extramarital affairs that some was bound to spill over onto this book. And that spillover is messy and tangled. I'm not even sure that I would have wanted Rabih to do anything differently -- to tell his wife or to leave her. In fact, as I was reading, I was a little irritated at how easily Botton seemed to take monogamy as the only possible natural state for couples.

I am going to try to let it go now.

Really, this was lovely and thoughtful and realistic and charming. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
A quickish romp through the lives of a typical modern couple ( meet, marriage, kids, affair, keep going) interspersed with 'theory and research' insights from psychology and philosophy pertinent to the actual episode we are reading. An interesting approach and often very pertinent.
  MarilynKinnon | Nov 11, 2017 |
I am too far removed in age for the first parts of the book to register much more than a knowing nod. But as it progressed, it delivered more interesting insights for me. ( )
  heggiep | Aug 18, 2017 |
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We all know the headiness and excitement of the early days of love. But what comes after? In Edinburgh, a couple, Rabih and Kirsten, fall in love. They get married, they have children but no long-term relationship is as simple as happily ever after. "The Course of Love" is a novel that explores what happens after the birth of love, what it takes to maintain love, and what happens to our original ideals under the pressures of an average existence.… (more)

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