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The Idea of Love

by Louise Dean

The irony of being prescribed the antidepressants he usually markets is all too clear to Richard and we observe his disintegrating family with almost clinical detachment. Yet throughout Richard is convinced that love is the answer, whether or not it actually exists. This book is an unusual combination of family life, philosophy and infidelity, woven together to good effect.

Extract

'I don't know. Maybe I'm not very good at it; love.' The conclusion. A touch of sincerity, a smattering of confession, a hint of self-knowledge, a sprinkling of bravado. 'I mean, what if I don't even know what love is?' he said. 'What if compared to most people I'm an emotional idiot? I feel like I ought to love her, you know, unconditionally even, for the sake of the boy, but I can't. I did try. But I'm not sure I can carry on without love, to be honest with you.' He was drunk. He was saying too much and for his own sake. It was like ... when you lie down and your stomach sends fluid upwards and you're swallowing like a dog, saying to yourself, oh no I don't want to vomit. He'd been though it before, this routine, about love and his quest for it; it was stale.

Parallels

Man and Boy by Tony Parsons
Game Control by Lionel Shriver
 

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