Sunday, January 31, 2010

Americans Talk About Love


"So tormented was Mr. Bowe by his inability to make the relationship work that he set out on a two-year quest to find out why. Not through conventional means, like psychotherapy, but by researching other people’s romantic experiences.

The result is “Us: Americans Talk About Love,” a new collection of first-person accounts of why love succeeds or fails, published by Faber & Faber. No aspect of lust, greed, need or devotion is ignored: The book includes tales of obsession and confusion (from a 17-year-old girl in San Antonio, Tex., who can’t get over an ex-boyfriend and a drug-addled 30-year-old living with his mother in Arizona while following his ex on Facebook); finding bliss (as a 44-year-old lesbian eventually did in Minneapolis, after more than a decade of marriage to a born-again Christian); and acceptance (from a 76-year-old widower in Manhattan who says he dated more than 300 women after his wife died, without ever finding anyone to take her place).

It is as compelling as literary fiction, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine called it a “profound, touching work.” But it also functions as a kind of self-help manual, forcing readers to examine their own longings, failings and assumptions about love."

-New York Times


Allegra Smith said...

Alright, there ought to be a reason for this book, I think. But I also think that the world would be a better place if we stopped talking so much about love and practice more.

There is a dire need for less didactic and more practice particularly in our times. I need a little more mystery, a little less knowledge of other people's affairs de coeur, and a little more smiles and that glow that comes from being at one with love. My two rupees and you know what that buys you these days, smile.

Elizabeth said...

sounds fascinating --

adrienne said...

have you read it maggie?

inspiring or discouraging?

xo
adrienne

Ms. Moon said...

Yes. I want to read this.

a cat of impossible colour said...

This sounds great!

A xx

Maggie May said...

i haven't read it but i just think it looks fantastic. Allegra i think i do understand what you mean, and i believe this book is in that vein. it's not theory, it's simply interviews fashioned into great storytelling about love.

magnoliaamber said...

Perhaps I should read it. I am afraid I would be like that Texas girl.

sas said...

in other 'search-for-love' book related news, 'Sexually I'm more of a Switzerland' is also out.

This is a collection of the best personal ads from the London Review of Books.

"Think of every sexual partner you've ever had. I'm nothing like them. Unless you've ever slept with a bulimic German cellist named Elsa. Elsa: bulimic German cellist (F, 37)."

"English lecturer, 44. Modelling himself on The Fonz in an entirely non-ironic way since 1979."

"When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade—instead squeeze it into the face of your cheating arse of a husband then cut the legs off every pair of trousers he owns. Sensitive F, 45."

Bloody awesome!

Beth said...

Read this review in our local paper. Did you notice that most of the examples given are negative and/or depressing? Only one had a somewhat happy ending.
Don’t think this book will be going on my list - reminds me of the line, “Looking for love in all the wrong places…

just making my way said...

Sounds amazing. Definitely putting it on my list!

Bee said...

Sometimes it seems like the only subject really worth talking or writing about. It is the center of all of our yearnings and strivings.

I love that picture: the desk, the bed, the green, the man in glasses, the light streaming through the windows.

Juniper said...

Sounds very interesting, would like to read it.
Thank you for the tip!

Glimmer said...

I think Allegra is onto something. The mania for love is all about the "I" of course. Who will love me. When will "I" find that person. What if we spent more time turning it around, being loving to others just in general, instead of making it such a singular thing. And, then, lo and behold, what do you think happens? By happy accident we have become exactly what we were hoping for in the first place. More lovable.

Dancing Branflake said...

I read excerpts from this book and it was so touching to hear people talk so expressively and spot on about a topic that is not only complicated but also illusive. I thought... could I tell a story so well? Maybe because love lets us.

Kass said...

I agree with you, Maggie. I would read it for the great stories. Thanks for suggesting it.

Alicia (aka Dr. Mom) said...

sounds interesting!

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

Sounds very interesting...and I like the concept: interviews woven into a story...

Hermione said...

Sounds really fascinating! Even though I think love is so personal and should just be experienced from person to person. But all the same, love love!

Cheryl said...

Great idea for a book! Adding it to my Amazon list.

take care, Cheryl

Annje said...

There are a couple other documentaries (and maybe I book I remember) along this same vein--looking at what makes a happy marriage... interviewing long-lasting marriages across the country. One is called Project Everlasting (documentary)and I think a husband-wife psychologist team has done a similar book.

Bethany said...

Thanks for this. Sounds fascinating. Off to put a hold on at the library!

previous next