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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents, the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Course of Love by Alain de Botton, read by Julian Rhind-Tutt.

Twenty years after his best-selling debut, Essays in Love, internationally acclaimed author Alain de Botton returns to fiction with a brilliant new novel about modern relationships.

What does it mean to live happily ever after?

At dinner parties and over coffee, Rabih and Kirsten's friends always ask them the same question: how did you meet? The answer comes easily - it's a happy story, one they both love to tell. But there is a second part to this story, the answer to a question their friends never ask: what happened next?

Rabih and Kirsten find each other, fall in love, get married. Society tells us this is the end of the story. In fact it is only the beginning. From the first thrill of lust to the joys and fears of real commitment to the deep problems that surface slowly over two shared lifetimes, this is the story of a marriage. It is the story of modern relationships and how to survive them.

Playful, wise and profoundly moving, The Course of Love is a delightful return to the novel by Alain de Botton, 20 years after his debut, Essays in Love.

©2016 Alain de Botton (P)2016 Penguin Books Limited

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Romantic cynicism at its best.

If you have seen any talks by Alan de Botton, the book will summarize his views. In a sense it is a fictional version of his study. A little depressing at times but well written.

  • Overall

A.must read

I wish I had read it before. I gave it to my best friends. "love is a skill, not just an entusiasm"

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  • Ninell
  • Pretoria, South Africa
  • 04-27-17

Honest and insightful

Really enjoyed every moment. A brutally honest but empathetic view on being human. Living life through the characters i gained perspective on my own relationships, and changed.

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Just amazing!

The insights and the way the author captured the sublime thought process of the characters left me speechless.

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Every couple should read/listen to this book.

Want to stay together? Have a listen and have a look at yourself. Unlock the skill of love.

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a book for anyone aspires to be in a relationship

Brilliant simply brilliant. so sorry when it ended but all good thibgs must. i wish i had heard this before i made early and wrong assumptions about coupledom.

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Views that can't be argued

Loved it. Recognizable yet insightful. Most engaging and selfevident writing on non-monogamy I've read yet.

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A brilliant thought provoking book on what love really is

This book has no plot it builds up to, no climax it tries to achieve. It merely does an amazing job at telling a truthful account of life and love. It will make you think, feel, and above all, learn. A fiction that speaks more truth than any self help book out here.

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  • Mrs
  • 11-03-16

Sublime

A beautiful, gentle, deeply insightful telling of love and its complications which left me feeling hopeful about relationships and the possibilities of understanding (and forgiving) ourselves and others. A must to all who want to have eyes open when committing to another.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • katie
  • 07-26-16

Invigorating and grounding all at once

I'm extremely grateful for this humbling narrative, I feel educated, inspired and hopeful. A comedically astute text.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Rutger
  • 09-14-16

Great lessons

Great story. Only bad point is that some parts are whispered really soft followed by loud narrative

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • oliver
  • 09-02-16

A sublime little book.

This book can in my mind, be considered as a bright light in the darkness.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • viviann tuong
  • 08-30-16

Brilliant insights into love

Best relationship themed book I've picked up in years and so well told, lots of laugh out loud moments

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ke Donn
  • 05-25-16

Everyone should listen to this book

This book is wonderfully written and a real insight to the highs and lows of relationships. so much information presented in a heartwarming story made even better by the narrators beautiful voice

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Laura
  • 03-23-17

You wont regret reading this!

Any additional comments?

I found this book beautifully written and narrated. Eloquent, poetic, light hearted and also enlightening! One of the most interesting things I took away from this book was reminder that each of us have deep routed behaviours and ideals that we may not know we have, and may not have thought about where these came from but that these can start as reasons we love/like/are drawn to a person, and then also turn into reasons we feel disconnected from that same person. Our behaviours and ideals may be very different from that of others', even those closest to us (who understand us the most). The book reminded me to show compassion at time when I understand others' behaviour the least.<br/><br/>I have sent copied of this book to a number of good friends. A wonderful entertaining and thought provoking read!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • PJN
  • 01-16-17

Should be compulsory reading for anyone in a relationship!

I absolutely loved this book. Botton has a skill for stating things that we all struggle to put into words. I felt like I learned so much from this book, I loved the characters, but even more I loved the helpful passages about relationships and the parts that nobody seems to talk about. Brilliant book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr. M. A. Edwards
  • 07-02-16

sensitive and wonderful, if a little male-biased

I'm a little biased as, for me, De Botton can do no wrong, but I loved this little book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Meldorf
  • 05-19-16

Not for me

The story is sparse and the narrator is the main voice - rather like a social education teacher with a class of twelve-year-olds (apart from the frequent sexual violent language).
The main message of the book seems to be that women should accept the flaws in their partner with saint - like patience whilst accepting adultery as normal and not be hurt by it.
The performance will be fine if you aren't actually Scottish or been to Scotland. The pronunciation of place names is sometimes awkward and simply wrong at other times

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Victoria
  • 07-22-16

Prescribed pre-relationship reading

Alain de Botton has created a entertaining story that provides a realistic view of relationships & marriage.. We can all take something from this story & perhaps remove the pressure of trying to have the "perfect life". Highly recommended!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Corne
  • 07-22-16

enlightening

extremely good narrator, indifferent to taking sides, and reading so even the most illogical ideas become logical. The storyline goes through and sheds light on every aspect of marriage, shedding light on modern societal misconceptions. As a realist, I found this book helping me feel much more willing to open up and to give people a chance. An absolute must-read, just ignore the very few swear words.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Luke
  • 07-21-16

Modern love primer

It may not be the only way to look at love, but it certainly is a valuable one. Very wise and quite ambitious in its scope, not to mention enjoyable, witty, elegantly expressed and not without some genuine suspense.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Tracey
  • 09-03-16

Loved this

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, Alain De Botton is an outstanding human being. If he decides to write about something, he makes sure he knows everything about the topic. He writes because he is genuinely passionate about helping people to live better lives. But instead of being preachy, he comes down to the heart level, and says, hey look, I've noticed these things and it's helped me live a better more aware life, maybe it could help you too, if you're interested. And far from being a part of the typical American style self-help guru, Alain does not set himself up on any kind pedestal, nor do you feel when listening, that you are being judged. It is simply an observation. Anyway, this book helped me understand my husband better. And for that, our relationship is better. Loved it to the end, and didn't want the story to end, I wanted to hear how they coped with the next stage of their lives - middle age, and then grandparenthood - Alain - are you listening?!

Have you listened to any of Julian Rhind-Tutt’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Beautiful voice, with ever so subtle intonations and ability to convey just the right amount of feeling into his voice.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, when the characters finally came to terms with each others shortcomings, and decided to move forward together anyway, just appreciating the other person and not trying to change them. Paradoxically, people will begin to change in an organic way once this happens.

Any additional comments?

I recommend all of Alain's writing, and even go to the website for the School of Life of which he is a co-founder. He is not a lofty self-help guru, just an extremely intelligent human being who is dedicated to using his talents to make people's lives better. I have devoured most of his books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Adam
  • 08-04-16

Everyone in a relationship needs to hear this

Disney has lied to you, romanticism makes for great stories and bad relationships. absolutely brilliant

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 07-07-16

A must for the study of love

I can't say enough how great this book is, as it provides a through mature look at what's in our hearts. Love.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bridget Pearce
  • 05-27-16

Confronting realism

I didn't necessarily love every second of listening to this. It felt like the betrayal of infidelity was being downplayed/rationalised for a while but that was eventually addressed and overall I found it clever, realistic, relatable and refreshingly unsugarcoated.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-08-17

Wonderful

What an absolutely wonderful book.

Alain has a unique way of articulating the quieter areas of life that, when bought into he light, one is both liberated from and indebted to.

Fabulous

Adam

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  • Meena Kadri
  • 09-18-17

Skilfully woven together

Really loved how this included so much sound wisdom woven into a fictional story. Beautifully read, not preachy... HUMAN. Recommended.

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  • Ruth C Fogarty
  • 08-25-17

Really worthwhile

At first I was really put off by the voiceover guy and his parochial school teacher voice, but stick with it. Alain de Botton speaks so concisely and is really on the money with his observations and dissections that you'll be able to get past the first voice, and perhaps learn to like it! Recommend this for anyone looking for or working on love.