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Love Life: A Novel Paperback – July 24, 2007
The Amazon Book Review
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From Publishers Weekly
In the Dutch Kluun's brutal roman à clef, Dan and Carmen van Diepen are successful professionals in their 30s, raising their young daughter in Amsterdam's suburbs while still partying zestfully, when Carmen's diagnosis with an aggressive form of breast cancer puts her life on hold. Dan, who narrates, soon rages against the incompetence and insensitivity of the doctors treating Carmen, and the couple alternate between manic joy and terror as they realize Carmen won't live to see their daughter, Luna, grow up. At the same time, confirmed club hound Dan pursues numerous infidelities, comments on his greatly diminished affection for his stricken wife and offers few apologies. As Carmen grows increasingly ill, they learn to forgive each other's faults, and Dan takes on the heavy burden of Carmen's decline. The final chapters find Carmen, Dan and their colorful cohort of yuppie friends pulling together to support Carmen's decision to end her life with dignity. Kluun's novel was a bestseller in Europe, and the translation is poignant, humorous and very graphic on the cancer. Kluun's take on marriage may be too European for the States, but his lacerating portraits of the medical establishment will certainly hit home. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In this wrenching, humorous, compelling novel based on his wife's death at 36 from breast cancer, Kluun turns on a dime. Reacting to wife Carmen's anxiety about chemo baldness, husband Dan is at first wry, but then desolation sets in: Carmen is afraid of losing her breast. I'm afraid of losing the Carmen I know. A lonely anxiety I don't share with anyone. Maybe I attach more importance to Carmen's breast than I do to Carmen's life? The many side effects of chemothe body's protest against itultimately aren't as bad as the increasingly painful and difficult insertions of needle and tube. Throughout, Carmen's spirit surprises. When her swelling belly (a side effect) conjures thoughts of shopping for maternity clothes, We're hoping for a boy, she ironically gushes. She leaves Dan when he drunkenly crashes the car after carousing with other women, but reconciles with him, chooses euthanasia, welcomes final visitors, and says good-bye. Scott, Whitney
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LOVE LIFE may initially appear formulaic because of its structure, but that is really just a device for Kluun to create a protagonistic who is caring yet boorish, sophomoric yet perceptive, selfish and withdrawn yet generous and vulnerable. He does it with sketches and thoughts and glimpses of the man's character through short but pointed scenes. It's no small feat to make Dan a hero and a big lug at the same time, but Kluun pulls it off. I found myself disliking Dan, then liking him, then rooting for him as I learned about him before being drawn in deeply enough to be part of him.
I've read hundreds of books, but only a small handful (literally) have ever made me cry. This is one of them.
Believe me, when you are dying or caring for someone who is dying you find out what priorities really are. So, if you're of a mind to judge? Don't. Or try not to. It doesn't mean a thing in the end. Love is the winning hand to play.
Thank you for the reminder, Mr. Kluun.
Many events in life came up and we were all sharing emotions that came up after reading this book. At he end we all had tears in our eyes.
Also one off the best Dutch movies made lately!!!!
Most recent customer reviews
If you want to read something upbeat, don't pick up this book.Read more