- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 14, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1501134256
- ISBN-13: 978-1501134258
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Course of Love: A Novel Hardcover – June 14, 2016
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PRAISE FOR THE COURSE OF LOVE:
“The Course of Love is a return to the form that made Mr. de Botton’s name in the mid-1990s…. love is the subject best suited to his obsessive aphorizing, and in this novel he again shows off his ability to pin our hopes, methods and insecurities to the page.”
–The New York Times
“There's no writer alive like de Botton, and his latest ambitious undertaking is as enlightening and humanizing as his previous works.”
“[De Botton] analyzes Rabih's feelings, especially, with the finesse of a therapist—and in fact there is more than a whiff of the couch in this exemplary tale…Readers looking for insights and guidance will find plenty.”
“An engrossing tale [that] provides plenty of food for thought.”
–People (Best New Books pick)
“The course of true love may not run smooth, but the storytelling certainly does in this wise, humane and irresistibly readable history of an appealingly nuanced relationship. De Botton deftly moves us through time, weaving in philosophical interludes that showcase his essayistic gifts, so that before we know it we have lived a whole life with these two, and they are just getting started. De Botton directs his ferocious intelligence at the most complex puzzle of all, and it seems that no intellectual or emotional problem surpasses his ability to solve it.”
—Matthew Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves
“The Course of Love is a complete delight. Not surprisingly, I feel that Alain de Botton not only wrote it for me, but also that we must have been conversing on these subjects happily and deeply, privately or in my dreams.”
—Amy Bloom, New York Times bestselling author of Away and Lucky Us
“The always-intriguing de Botton, who returns to fiction after 20 years and numerous nonfiction books, aims to answer the question, What is it like to be married for awhile? The answers are often funny but also quite moving, thought provoking, forgiving, and drenched in truth.”
“Well-observed and imbued with a tenderness that feels authentic and uncynical. It may even save some marriages. My bet is that if de Botton’s name were taken off this book it would be fêted by the sort of people who are in thrall to Milan Kundera and Adam Thirlwell. He wants us to feel less alone — and that’s not such a bad thing.”
—Evening Standard (UK)
Praise for On Love:
"The Romantic Movement sheds light on the nature of relationships...The method of telling much and showing little produces a good deal of wit, cogency, and humor."
—John Updike, The New Yorker
"A reader gets whiffs of Donald Barthelme, Julian Barnes, Woody Allen...De Botton borrows exuberantly, and well, from forebears [and] therein lies the buoyant charm of this approach."
—Lisa Zeidner, The New York Times Book Review
"Smart and ironic...The success of On Love has much to do with its beautifully modeled sentences, its wry humor, and its unwavering deadpan respect for the reader's intelligence."
—Francine Prose, The New Yorker
Praise for The Architecture of Happiness:
“De Botton has a marvelous knack for coming at weighty subjects from entertainingly eccentric angles.”
—The Seattle Times
"An elegant book. . . . Unusual . . . full of big ideas. . . . Seldom has there been a more sensitive marriage of words and images."
—The New York Sun
"With originality, verve, and wit, de Botton explains how we find reflections of our own values in the edifices we make. . . . Altogether satisfying."
—San Francisco Chronicle
"De Botton is high falutin' but user friendly. . . . He keeps architecture on a human level."
—Los Angeles Times
Praise for How Proust Can Change Your Life:
"Delightfully original.... As well as being criticism, biography, literary history, and a reader's guide to Proust's masterpiece, this is a self-help book in the deepest sense of the term."
—The New York Times
"One of my favorite books of the year.... Seriously cheeky, cheekily serious."
"Curious, humorous, didactic, and dazzling.... It contains more human interest and play of fancy than most fiction."
—John Updike, The New Yorker
"A witty, elegant book that helps us learn what reading is for."
"A wonderful meditation on aspects of Proust in the form of a self-help book. Very enjoyable."
"Funny and very refreshing."
—San Francisco Chronicle
Praise for The Consolations of Philosophy:
“Wonderfully original, quirky.... De Botton finds inspiration where others might fail to look.”
"An enjoyable read... In clear, witty prose, de Botton...sets some of [the philosophers'] ideas to the mundane task of helping readers with their personal problems.... The quietly ironic style and eclectic approach will gratify many postmodern readers."
About the Author
Alain de Botton is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including On Love, How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel, and The Course of Love. He lives in London where he founded The School of Life, an organization devoted to fostering emotional health and intelligence. More can be found at AlainDeBotton.com.
Top Customer Reviews
Those same readers might want to reconsider that reaction after reading his sagacious, sophisticated new novel, THE COURSE OF LOVE, which wraps insights like that one around a sensitive portrait of a marriage to make any thoughtful reader question, with de Botton, the psychological and social damage inflicted by our modern notion of romantic love.
He patiently marshals the evidence to support his case through the characters of Rabih Khan and Kirsten McLelland. Rabih is an architect with an Edinburgh urban design firm that specializes in public works projects, while Kirsten is a local civil servant with a degree in law and accountancy. They meet on a construction site, and within two hours Rabih magically "feels certain that he has discovered someone endowed with the most extraordinary combination of inner and outer qualities," the person "with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life." The couple's brief, intense courtship is proof positive of de Botton's arch definition of marriage:
"Marriage: a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don't know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully omitted to investigate.Read more ›
Combining Rabih and Kirsten's fictional story with his own insights and commentary on their relationship, De Botton proposes that "enlightened romantic pessimism" is a healthier and more realistic alternative to Romanticism, the latter of which gives us unrealistic expectations of relationships and sets us up for inevitable failure.
There's no "right person," suggests De Botton, and in each and every longterm relationship we are doomed to encounter a variety of suffering and unfulfillment; therefore, committing to another person is akin to saying, "I've surveyed the different options for unhappiness, and it is to you I am choosing to bind myself." Whether readers find this depressing or comforting will likely vary. (For me, it was the latter.)
Much like De Botton's first novel, many of the insights he provides in The Course of Love are accurate to the point of discomfort. It's not easy to identify with his propositions, yet there is universal truth to them, and there's something distinctly comforting in that. It's always special to read a book -- particularly a work of fiction -- and feel as if the writer is communicating truths about yourself that you've never been able to adequately acknowledge, let alone convey.
As a fan of both philosophy and fiction, I find great satisfaction in De Botton's ability to translate profound ideas and insights into accessible and entertaining prose. The Course of Love is a captivating read, but seems as if it would be especially meaningful for individuals in the beginning phases of longterm commitment.
The structure of this novel is non-traditional, in that the author often inserts philosophical or thoughtful commentary on each stage of the romance, and the actual story lacks a real novel structure because it's more of an overview of how Rabih and Kirsten met, fell in love, and their progression with marriage and children. I'm not yet at the stage where I have a lot of experience with this, so it was wonderful to get an impartial look at the emotions that run through these experiences and what it means for the person and for the significant other. Even though the story is mostly from Rabih's point of view, the novel looks at the relationship in such an equitable way, that I felt like I could easily relate to both Rabih and Kristen, and all of their trials and successes. It's a little bittersweet to read the progression of their relationship, with all the ups and downs, in such a truncated way, but revelatory to get such a unique overview of these two peoples' lives.
This is a book that I think will stick with me for a long time, because the experiences discussed in this book are so meaningful and timeless. The thoughts and emotions are applicable to almost everyone, and the search or maintenance of a long lasting romantic relationship is certainly a major part of most people's lives. This is a beautiful and fascinating book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant book. This book will make you feel that your relationship problems are not so unique, and it will make you feel great! Read morePublished 2 days ago by michelle evans
A very interesting book that you think about your own life and relationshipsPublished 3 days ago by Jill
Alain De Botton is incredibly insightful about human nature, life stages, and the different roles we play for ourselves and others. Read morePublished 26 days ago by mswmommy
Really excellent. Loved the way it intertwines a fictional story with non-fiction information about love, therapy and relationships.Published 1 month ago by Julie