This month the group read The Course of Love by Alain de Botton. The story follows a young couple, Kirsten and Rabih, through the stages of their relationship, from meeting at work and falling in love, to marriage, children and middle age. It portrays all the demands on such a relationship, whether it be domestic chores, work, financial worries, aging parents, even an affair. It doesn’t hide the difficulties and friction that can arise and the couple even go through therapy at one stage.

The characters are well drawn and quite different. However, there is not a lot to the story. Much of the book is taken up with contemplations on the nature of love, reflections on each new development in the relationship and analysis of how love evolves and how one should respond.

On one level this is a serious and very thoughtful book, but many of the vignettes of Kirsten and Rabih’s life will match your own experiences. Generally, the group found the book a little heavy going, since it seems to dwell on the difficulties in the relationship with very little joy. Although described as a novel, there is more analysis of human behaviour than story.


Our future reading list is as follows:

Jul        This Lovely City                                   Louisa Hare

Aug      Open Water                                        Caleb Azumah Nelson

Sept     Beautiful World Where Are You        Sally Rooney

Oct      Love After Love                                   Ingrid Persaud

Nov     Frostquake                                         Juliet Nicolson

Dec      The Dalai Lama’s Cat                          David Michie