The Course of Love: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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"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)
The long-awaited and beguiling second novel from Alain de Botton that tracks the beautifully complicated arc of a romantic partnership, from the internationally best-selling author of How Proust Can Change Your Life. De Botton's essay "Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person" (The New York Times, May 28, 2016), which draws from The Course of Love, was the number-one most emailed article for days.
We all know the headiness and excitement of the early days of love. But what comes after? In Edinburgh a couple, Rabih and Kirsten, fall in love. They get married, they have children—but no long-term relationship is as simple as "happily ever after". The Course of Love is a novel that explores what happens after the birth of love, what it takes to maintain love, and what happens to our original ideals under the pressures of an average existence. You experience, along with Rabih and Kirsten, the first flush of infatuation, the effortlessness of falling into romantic love, and the course of life thereafter. Interwoven with their story and its challenges is an overlay of philosophy - an annotation and a guide to what we are reading.
This is a romantic novel in the true sense, one interested in exploring how love can survive and thrive in the long term. The result is a sensory experience - fictional, philosophical, psychological - that urges us to identify deeply with these characters and to reflect on his and her own experiences in love. Fresh, visceral, and utterly compelling, The Course of Love is a provocative and life-affirming novel for everyone who believes in love.
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|Listening Length||7 hours and 6 minutes|
|Author||Alain de Botton|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||June 14, 2016|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #10,806 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#363 in Family Life Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#639 in Women's Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#679 in Literary Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
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Top reviews from the United States
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Enter Alain De Botton. I wish I could advise my younger self to have read his book. De Botton employs an everyman and everywoman – in this case, Rahib, a non-religious budding architect from Beirut and Kirsten, a woman who had been abandoned early on in life by her father. Sparks fly and we follow the two of them through the course of love – infatuation, wedding, children, disillusionment, adultery, and finally, maturity.
Rahib and Kirsten are just foils for the author’s theme: falling in love is easy but maintaining that love is the real challenge. No one, after all, is perfect. “Rather than split up,” the author writes, “We may need to tell ourselves more accurate stories – stories that don’t dwell so much on the beginning, that don’t promise us complete understanding, that strive to normalize our troubles and show us a melancholy yet hopeful path through the course of love.” Each step of Rahib and Kirsten’s relationship is met with an evaluation – even an analysis – of what, precisely, is going on in their heads. The primal needs of this everyman and everywoman still demand attention as they reach adulthood and parenthood and much of their disillusionment stems from a desire to have the partner magically understand what those needs are…without appearing too vulnerable.
There is a problem with presenting the course of love through the eyes of surrogates. This reading experience is bound to be intensely personal, and when it deviates too much from the reader’s own experience, there is a waning interest. My husband, and I, for example, never had kids together, and I found myself not all that interested in Rahib and Kirsten’s parenthood experiences.
Yet the conclusions – that Romantic ideas of love are a recipe for disaster and that one can only be in love when one has given up on perfection – is compelling. “Rather than notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate dissimilarity that is the true marker of the “right” person.” My husband and I are still going strong after reaching that conclusion. To my mind, this book should be de rigueur reading for every couple contemplating marriage and every couple who wonders why their own marriage isn’t 100% perfect all the time (which is the vast majority of us!)
I was liking this book and to be honest, when I got to the part where he has an affair, I almost ripped it in half and threw it in the trash.
To me, being unfaithful is an absolute deal breaker. But I gave it another chance and continued reading, hoping that the book may offer an insight on why it all happens.
The book proven to be very informative, I ended up highlighting sentences that can be used as a daily guide or reminder of what shouldn’t be done in a similar situation.
I feel so grateful that I ended up understanding more about myself and my husband’s thought process. I really like this book and I would absolutely recommend to all the engaged and newlywed couples out there.
While this novel is not as poetic as his brilliant Art of Travel, it is no less thought provoking. De Botton challenges the reader to reevaluate their views on love, marriage, and parenting. He gives insight into how our preconceptions of the perfect romantic love have set us up for disappointment and frustration. He also offers some ideas on how to have more realistic expectations of our lovers and of ourselves and how important communication is.
I have only given this book 4 stars only because it is not the most compelling novel you will read, but it is without a doubt worth reading.
I'm not certain that I agree with everything he's written here, but I feel that it's raised many questions in my head that need to be reconsidered in the way I approach relationships going forward.
The thoughts presented in this book will be kicking around in my head for months if not years to come.
Top reviews from other countries
only message I took from this book is that arguments are normal and if you cheat on your wife it's fine as long as you don't admit to it.
Author doesn't know what message he's trying to send here. Garbage.
We follow a middle-class couple, each of whom has considerable emotional baggage, from their first meeting, well into marriage, parenthood, career problems, infidelity (the spoiler is amongst the chapter headings) and beyond. De Botton gives some fascinating insights throughout, reflecting on the issues, both individual and cultural, which prompt each to behave in a certain way, and thus pointing out how certain pitfalls can be avoided, or at least how the harm caused might be minimised.
The focus is squarely on the male protagonist; and it might be argued that some of the points de Botton makes are commonsensical - but they are articulated with such perceptiveness and intelligence that one finds oneself marvelling at the complexity, and perhaps the impossibility, of meaningful intimate co-existence.
It's a short read split into bite-sized chapters, and is the perfect antidote to the fantasy woven by most fictions which focus on this most vital of issues - profound and refreshingly uncynical.
Early on, de Botton comments out that the starts of relationships receive disproportionate attention, The book attempts to redress the balance by following the relationship into the stormier waters of married life, parenthood and middle age. de Botton does not take his couple into retirement and old age, which he should have done, but perhaps he considers those stages of the life course to be beyond his competence.
Having read probably most of Alain books, I was expecting more of the same (not that it's bad), especially after watching the talk from his book tour (available on YT) before buying the book. However it is a novel, as advertised, and therefore a bit different. Alain will occasionally 'lecture' throughout the book, mostly on italic sections, but for the rest, the lessons will be taught will the history progression. I will admit I found it boring at places, and as it often happens with 'real' characters on books, it was hard to love the leading characters, but slowly the book will grip you, even if some lessons are predictable. An important book for people about to embark on a relationship anyway, specially if you want it to last.