cover image Reinventing Love: How the Patriarchy Sabotages Heterosexual Relations

Reinventing Love: How the Patriarchy Sabotages Heterosexual Relations

Mona Chollet, trans. from the French by Susan Emanuel. St. Martin’s, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-28572-0

In this invigorating study, feminist scholar Chollet (In Defense of Witches) explores the “internal conflict between my feminist convictions and my mystical and absolutist view of love.” She pushes back against recent attempts by other feminist thinkers to defend erotic love as a sacred space beyond critique; instead, Chollet makes a bold case that love itself is warped by patriarchy and in need of correction. She refreshingly does not eschew monogamy or long-term commitment (though she doesn’t knock open relationships either: “I admire the people who manage it”), arguing that holding another person in a place of privilege in one’s life is where love’s true fruits lie, both erotically and in terms of personal and spiritual growth. Instead, she critiques the capitalist conditions (such as the gender pay gap and long workdays that keep couples apart) and contemporary value systems (“the bourgeois straightjacket of the obligatory trajectory of romance” and “the destructive view of passion”) that prevent heterosexual love from generating harmonious, communal bonds between couples. In Emanuel’s fluid translation, Chollet’s prose is both easygoing and erudite, maintaining an effortless flow as she seamlessly folds new thinkers and examples (from bell hooks and Simone de Beauvoir to Sally Rooney and Princess Leia) into her ever-expanding analysis. It’s a must-read. (July)