May 31, 2009

The Idea of Love by Louise Dean

Louise Dean’s the idea of Love is opens in modern day Provence, France and is first told through the eyes of Richard, a pharmaceutical salesman about to launch antidepressants in Africa. Envisioning one hundred percent market share and possibly depressed himself, he sets off to sell sadness. While Richard pursues profits and one night stands, he leaves his beautiful but distant wife Valere at home to care for their son, Max. Valere and Max’s neighbor Rachel also takes to Africa where she is determined to do some good, and ends up alienating her philandering husband, Jeff. Rachel and Richard’s combined efforts in Africa begin to dismantle their precarious marriages and lifestyles.

I was expecting a rather sad tale about infidelity in marriage, but instead this novel turned out to be a shockingly edgy look at the constant struggles we all face: living with consequences, the failure to capture the elusiveness of happiness, and the very idea of love (get it)? This novel is reminiscent of Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, but Dean writes with a uniquely focused clarity. The Idea of Love is a triumph producing characters that do not in any way feel contrived. One inhabits these four people as they unravel with the precision and pace of an unraveling sweater.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that sounds...interesting. Not my cup of tea, though.


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