cover image Conversations on Love: Lovers, Strangers, Parents, Friends, Endings, Beginnings

Conversations on Love: Lovers, Strangers, Parents, Friends, Endings, Beginnings

Natasha Lunn. Viking, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-29658-5

British journalist Lunn gets to the heart of love’s complexities and rewards in her thought-provoking and heartfelt debut. “Although love is in many ways unknowable,” she writes, “it is useful for us to try to define it.” What follows is an enriching series of interviews with writers and thinkers (plucked from the author’s newsletter of the same name) blended with moving personal stories from Lunn’s own life. Believing love begins within oneself, philosopher Alain de Botton maintains “the capacity to say, ‘I could be alone,’ is strangely one of the most important guarantees of one day being with somebody else in a happy way.” Roxane Gay, in sharing how she’s sustained romance with her long-term partner, Debbie Millman, emphasizes the importance of “recognizing that new isn’t always better.” Meanwhile, relationship therapist Esther Perel recommends committed couples conduct “a little annual summit” to keep things in check. Mining the heartbreak of a miscarriage Lunn suffered before having her daughter, she considers how loss can deepen one’s ability to love: “the uncertainty love requires is not a problem... it is what makes it beautiful.” While Lunn’s subject matter is famously known to inspire clichés, these insightful conversations resist that impulse with their rawness and wry wisdom. Cynics and romantics alike will find lots to ponder. Agent: Carrie Plitt, Felicity Bryan Assoc. (Feb.)