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Essays In Love

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I felt like a dandelion releasing hundreds of spores into the air - and not knowing if any of them would get through. What’s difficult is to reconcile these two warring sides inside my head–one which says I shouldn’t have love and another that stubbornly insists I should. I am generally quite good with silences–as in, I don’t mind just sitting or walking in silence with someone. Forgetting, however calming, was also a reminder of infidelity to what I had at one time held so dear. When Chloe and the protagonist (I suppose his name is Alain — we are never completely sure of that) first met in a chapter titled “ Romantic Fatalism”, De Botton wrote about our motivations in falling in love as a desire to invent a destiny so as to spare ourselves the anxiety that no one has written our story or assured our loves, that we are eager to locate inside another person a perfection that eludes within ourselves, and ultimately “ hope to maintain a precarious faith in our species.

Through the ordinary story of two young people, who met on an airplane from Paris to London and fell in love soon after, De Botton went into extraordinary depth in analysing the nuances, the emotional swings, the sweet and sour we all identify in a relationship.I suppose I’ve been disappointed by how few people really understand me (though maybe we all feel that way? Everyone will undoubtedly relate to the different stages of the relationship, from initial uncomfortable exchanges, charged with expectation, to the concern that you are more involved than your object of desire. 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 . I oscillate a lot between the two until I come to a sort of acceptance that nothing will ever happen and kind of sort of move on–which is, indeed, what happens to the narrator.

I would have benefitted SO much from knowing about how love works and that so many of the things I felt weren’t abnormal at all (hell no am I talking to anyone about that stuff). I am more than aware of the numerous red flags that stick out of my back and I’m certain there are more that I’m not even conscious of. Written in the style of a novel, this genre-defying book charts the relationship of a man and a woman from the first kiss to the onset of anxiety and heartbreak, illuminating emotions we have all felt but perhaps never fully understood. To have killed myself would have been to forget that I would be too dead to derive any pleasure from the melodrama of my own extinction. Is there not in every coup de foudre a certain willful exaggeration of the qualities of the beloved, an exaggeration which distracts us from our habitual pessimism and focuses our energies on someone in whom we can believe in a way we have never believed in ourselves?

Essays in Love is a novel about two young people, who meet on an airplane between London and Paris and rapidly fall in love. So, to have it written that even the best relationships don’t have that element of complete vulnerability was heartening.

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