Top critical review
Too much wit and not enough wisdom
on 4 October 2016
I found Talking it Over interesting, enjoyable and clever. Unfortunately this sequel is shapeless, fragmented and over-clever.
In Talking it Over, I found the pretentious pontificating of Oliver tolerable and sometimes entertaining. In Love etc I found it tedious. As a quick example, this is the pompous way that Oliver says something which, translated into normal English would be "Is he rich? While having a drink with him I didn't ask about his life in America."
"Is he replete with the long green? While quaffing and quenching with him I did not out of sheer tact enquire too subcutaneously about his sojourn in the land of the free."
The book is cleverly written and at times insightful but much of the time it comprises armchair psychology with a veneer of wit disguising an absence of wisdom underneath. To help you decide if you will like it, here are a few examples of the style:
"Being in love makes you liable to fall in love. Isn't that a terrible paradox? Isn't that a terrible truth?"
"It is not so much that I do not want, as that I do not want to want. I do not desire to desire. And I will say this. I am perhaps now as happy as in the yaers when I did desire. I am less occupied, less preoccupied but no less happy, or no less unhappy. Is this perhaps my punishment from those Gods who no longer exist? To realise that all the heart trouble - is that the word? - which I endured, all that searching and all that pain, all that expectation, all those actions, were not after all, as I thought, relevant to happiness."
"There are many theories as to what it is that men marry - their sexual destiny, their mother, their doppelganger, their wife's money, but how about the notion that what they truly seek is their conscience. God knows most men aren't able to locate it in the traditional seat, somewhere close to the heart and the spleen, so why not acquire it as an accessory, like a tinted sun-roof or metal-spoked steering wheel? Or might it alternatively be that this is not what men truly seek but what marriage of necessity turns women into."
Here is one I like but it isn't original. It is a quote from Alexandre Dumas.
"The chains of marriage are so heavy that sometimes it needs three people to carry them."