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Against Love: A Polemic by Laura Kipnis

Against Love: A Polemic

by Laura Kipnis

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
This is one of the books which have me wonder whether I am some alien just landed on this planet.

I had a complete and entire problem with Kipnis' arguments and deductions. Nothing was even remotely logical or even just a bit reasonable. Her list of what people can't do gave me some of the biggest WTF-moments of the year. I was yelling repeatedly exactly that term, out loud, while reading.

In the end I gave up, this was completely juvenile. ( )
  Steelwhisper | Mar 31, 2013 |
This woman is becoming my favourite writer. She just TAKES THINGS ON. Her writing style is breathless, filled with long expostulatory sentences and mad alliteration and just the most wonderful rantings. I've just started Against Love and I am already totally hooked. Can't wait to read Bad Behaviour. ( )
  Dabble58 | Aug 26, 2012 |
I'm not sure how to sum this one up. An interesting failure? Maddening yet compelling? I think I remember hearing it angered a lot of people because it challenged their beliefs - which I'm all in favor of. Unfortunately, what aggravated me about this book is that it doesn't do it well. It's filled with instances of faulty logic (if A sometimes leads to B, it's a bit hinky to imply that A always leads to B), leaps of reasoning that border on the ludicrous, and arguments that start with the conclusion and then look for rationales and anecdotes to lead up to them. Surprisingly, I didn't dislike this book because of the beliefs it fervently embraced; instead, I just wished I could read the better-written version of this book. ( )
1 vote duck2ducks | Sep 4, 2008 |
I recommend this book highty, not for its answers (it doesn't pretend to have any) but for its questions, which appraise every aspect of contemporary coupledom (which, she explains, is what she means by 'love'). In lesser hands this could be an intolerable bore, but Kipnis's intelligence and wit keep it readable.

The most spectacular set piece is compiled from actual answers to the question "what can't you do if you're part of a couple?" The list--made up almost entirely of phrases the reader will instantly recognize--runs to eight pages, and doesn't come close to repeating itself.

Her approach is external, like an economist or anthropologist, but informed by a little Freud and a lot of common sense. Ultimately she is asking "Why should we trust this odd set of beliefs about love when so much of the available evidence contradicts them?" I should add that the set of beliefs brought into question includes some of more than intimate interest, such as "we didn't care when JFK slept around, so why was there such a fuss about Clinton? What's changed?"

She suggests a few answers, some of which are more convincing than others, but it's the questions that matter, and she poses them brilliantly. ( )
1 vote grunin | Aug 26, 2008 |
Laura Kipnis is clearly in love with her writing, so much that her polemic comes across as a self-congratulatory attempt at insight rather than a true work of against the way we perceive and interact with the concept of love in contemporary society. ( )
  vasta | Dec 16, 2007 |
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Will all the adulterers in the room please stand up?
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375719326, Paperback)

Less against love than against the cultural constraints that leads us to create wrong-headed ideas of love, this is book is the perfect antidote to any lingering social guilt about being happily single. Against Love: A Polemic will both shock and irritate, especially when you find yourself nodding your head in agreement while laughing at another broken taboo. Laura Kipnis (author of Bound and Gagged, Ecstasy Unlimited) clearly enjoyed writing this; she lets her wit run rampage over classic married situations and human emotions with results that include comparing adulterers to freedom fighters (using sharpened spoons to tunnel out from under love's barbed wire fences) and referring to tearful confessions of cheating as "funny little couple rituals." These make it fun, but the iconoclastic beauty is in her questions. How did good relationships come to be considered work instead of play? Why, unlike most of history and many other modern cultures, do Americans assume love and marriage go hand-in-hand? What lead to infidelity committed by public figures becoming a source of outrage? Kipnis doesn't have answers. Although urging us to have more compassion for our own desires, she expects her readers are smart enough to supply their own in response to her ideas. That attitude itself is a treat--if you're prepared to keep up through a complex whirlwind of Freud, Marx, Gingrich, Wollstonecraft, and several generations of pop culture. Jill Lightner

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:02 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Against Love examines the meaning and cultural significance of adultery, arguing that perhaps the question concerns not only the private dilemma of whether or not to be faithful but also the purpose of this much-vaunted fidelity. It offers no easy answers. Rather, it intends to engage you in a commonsensical and brave examination of the plight of the modern personality, caught between the vicissitudes of desire and the decrees of social conformity."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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