The bestselling author of The Architecture of Happiness and How Proust Can Change Your Life revisits his utterly charming debut book, Essays in Love.
The narrator is smitten by Chloe on a Paris-to-London flight, and by the time they’ve reached the luggage carousel he knows he is in love. He loves her chestnut hair, watery green eyes, the gap that makes her teeth Kantian and not Platonic, and her views on Heidegger’s Being and Time — but he hates her taste in shoes. What makes this book extraordinary is the depth with which the emotions involved in the relationship are analysed. Love comes under the philosophical microscope.
Plotting the course of their affair from the initial delirium of infatuation to the depths of suicidal despair, through a fit of anhedonia — defined in medical texts as a disease resulting from the terror brought on by the threat of utter happiness — and finally through the terrorist tactics employed when the beloved begins, inexplicably, to drift away, Essays in Love is filled with profound and witty observations on the pain and exhilaration of love. An entire chapter is devoted to the nuances and subtexts of an initial date, while another chapter mulls over the question of how and when to say “I love you.”
With allusions to Aristotle, Sartre, Wittgenstein, and Groucho Marx, de Botton has plotted an imaginative and microscopically detailed romance.
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