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Essays in Love Hardcover – 5 Nov 1993

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; First Edition edition (5 Nov. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333600673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333600672
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,120,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The book's success has much to do with its beautifully modelled sentences, its wry humour and its unwavering deadpan respect for its reader's intelligence . . . full of keen observation and flashes of genuine lyricism, acuity and depth. (Francine Prose)

Witty, funny, sophisticated, neatly tied up, and full of wise and illuminating insights. (P. J. Kavanagh Spectator)

De Botton is a national treasure. (Susan Hill)

I doubt if de Botton has written a dull sentence in his life. (Jan Morris New Statesman)

Single-handedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us to live our lives (Independent)

It's a familiar tale but there is nothing predictable about De Botton's explanation of how love enthrals us all. This is no light romance but a sort of "When Harry Met Sally Meets Roland Barthes". . . A novel of wit and insight; whatever the state of your love life, it will make entertaining and sometimes painful, sometimes profitable reading (Time Out) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The classic book on love by the bestselling author of How Proust Can Change Your Life and The Consolations of Philosophy. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
De Botton, Alaine. Essays in Love

In her introduction to de Botton’s book (Picador Classics) Sheila Heti begins, ‘Essays in Love has been classified as a novel, but it’s a very strange novel.’ It is, she says, ‘a guide through the landscape of contemporary romance.’ In the book de Botton makes a habit of reflecting on a previous paragraph telling the story of (presumably his) love affair with Chloe, a woman whom he meets by chance sitting next to him on a Paris-London flight. Thus the novel-memoir seems at times to be a mere jumping of point to a profound analysis of the trite business of falling in love - and of course inevitably the disillusion inherent in that commonplace but unique event.

I must confess that I am often puzzled by the memoir genre - how much is ‘true’ and how much falsified for the sake of art? In books about love affairs, which this absolutely is, how constant is the point of view? How can the reader believe in the ‘facts’ as retailed by the narrator? Well, de Botton (who wrote this book in his early twenties) does a masterly job of analysing the ebb and flow of desire, beginning with rapture over finding that the lovers have so much in common that some supernatural agency must have pre-determined their meeting. ‘I love chocolate, don’t you?’ asked Chloe. ‘I can’t understand people who don’t like chocolate.’ Well, the narrator, the ‘I’ in the story, de Botton or a version of him, hates chocolate: ‘I had been more or less allergic to chocolate all my life.’ So of course in the ‘story’ the narrator has to lie, or else run the risk of losing the ‘angel’ as Chloe is soon to become. This is the key to the novel, focusing on a mundane preference and lying about one’s true feelings. It’s what we all would do in the circumstances.
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Format: Paperback
This really is the most increible book. Charting a relationship from start to finish, the author manages to capture the heart of human relationships with amazing insight.
The novel is so true to life that I found myself mirrored within the pages of the novel and I am sure I am not the only one.
This book is wonderful, truly. If you are contemplating buying one of Alain de Botton's novels, start with this one.
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By A Customer on 26 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback
Alain de Botton's 'Essays in Love' is a thought-provoking masterpiece in the description of western society's most powerful emotion. The analysis of the stages of his love affair with Chloe are fresh in viewpoint and full of the dissection needed to conquer such an emotive topic without ever becoming suffocatingly sickly. If you've ever fallen in love and have wondered whether feelings of inadequacy are unique then you should read this. It combines a beautifully penned introduction to European philosophy with a thorough scrutiny of love that will provide a real truth to an experience often impossible to analyse on a personal basis. I loved this book almost as much as the woman who recommended it.
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By A Customer on 25 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most wonderful books I have ever read. It will no doubt remain my breaking up bible. Alain de Botton captures the thoughts that each and every one of us have when we find someone, fall in love and lose them. It reminds us there is hope and that we are not alone. More than this though it is honestly a fantastic book, just to read, and to enjoy
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An easily-digestable and refreshingly enjoyable format. His intimate and well-presented narrative coupled with his philosophizing of the ordeals of falling in-and-out of love makes this book a truly unique experience.
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Always like AdB's style, and this is a very well written "novel" although it could be confused for autobiographical experience. Written with a presence that makes it real and filled with many truisms about the rollercoaster of love. Well done Alain.
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Format: Paperback
The title doesn't exactly give it away, but de Botton's novel owes much to Stendhal's "Love". A charmingly told tale of falling in and out of love, it combines the erudition that de Botton has made part of his style (especially in "How Proust Can Change Your Life") with a modern romance told with humour and grace. Reviewed like this, it doesn't sound that impressive - but read "Essays in Love" and you'll soon be grabbing at everything else this brilliant young author has written - I did, and I've yet to be disappointed by him.
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While the title is nauseous, Alain manages to more than redeem the book with a thoughtful and objective assessment of the entirely subjective experience of a romantic relationship. At times I was disturbed that this man seemed to be able to read my mind, but mostly I was frustrated that he could express so many of the things I've felt in a way that is lucid, eloquent and accurate while I remain incapable of expressing even my mildest feelings to another human being.
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