Thursday, April 19, 2012

Don't let the cover deceive you

First, this isn't really a hardcore love story, despite the screaming red cover. Second, being a work by Alain de Botton, it's more of a philosophical discourse than fiction.

While de Botton does present a male (the unnamed narrator) and a female (Chloe) character, he simply makes use of these characters as evidence, if you will, of what happens when two people have a connection and fall in love.

In the book, we examine why people are inexplicably drawn to one another, go through the motions of a relationship, have trivial and significant arguments, drift away, cheat on one another, and sometimes fall out of love. The chapters are something like theses on love and its many aspects -- intimacy, seduction, and even 'romantic terrorism'.
Love had to be appreciated without flight into dogmatic optimism or pessimism, without constructing a philosophy of one's fears, or a morality of one's disappointments. Love taught the analytic mind a certain humility, the lesson that however it struggled to reach immobile certainties (numbering its conclusions and embedding them in neat series), analysis could never be anything but flawed -- and therefore never stray far from the ironic. [page 194]
This slim work of 'fiction', the debut of Alain de Botton, is not to be missed. While some of the sections may make your eyes glaze over, the novel's ideas about this complex emotion are fascinating to read.


rmacapobre said...

i remember watching oprah and she had an interesting take on this subject.

she concludes that people are drawn to others to fill a need.

and so for people who are single by choice, they may have achieved a state when intimacy with others is no longer necessary.


Peter S. said...

Hi, rmacapobre! Interesting theory. Maybe Oprah is right all along.