The Course of Love

A Novel
Narrated by: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Length: 7 hrs and 6 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
4.5 out of 5 stars (899 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"The Course of Love is a return to the form that made Mr. de Botton's name in the mid-1990s….love is the subject best suited to his obsessive aphorizing, and in this novel he again shows off his ability to pin our hopes, methods and insecurities to the page." (The New York Times)

The long-awaited and beguiling second novel from Alain de Botton that tracks the beautifully complicated arc of a romantic partnership, from the internationally best-selling author of How Proust Can Change Your Life. De Botton's essay "Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person" (The New York Times, May 28, 2016), which draws from The Course of Love, was the number-one most emailed article for days.

We all know the headiness and excitement of the early days of love. But what comes after? In Edinburgh a couple, Rabih and Kirsten, fall in love. They get married, they have children—but no long-term relationship is as simple as "happily ever after". The Course of Love is a novel that explores what happens after the birth of love, what it takes to maintain love, and what happens to our original ideals under the pressures of an average existence. You experience, along with Rabih and Kirsten, the first flush of infatuation, the effortlessness of falling into romantic love, and the course of life thereafter. Interwoven with their story and its challenges is an overlay of philosophy - an annotation and a guide to what we are reading.

This is a romantic novel in the true sense, one interested in exploring how love can survive and thrive in the long term. The result is a sensory experience - fictional, philosophical, psychological - that urges us to identify deeply with these characters and to reflect on his and her own experiences in love. Fresh, visceral, and utterly compelling, The Course of Love is a provocative and life-affirming novel for everyone who believes in love.

©2016 Alain de Botton. All right reserved. (P)2016 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"[Narrator] Julian Rhind-Tutt's voice is tender, seductive, secretive, or open, as needed. Whichever tone he uses, listening to him is always a joy.... Rhind-Tutt keeps the listening worthwhile and far from routine." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing, much needed retooling of the expectations and realities of Love

Everyone who is attempting romantic relationships should be required to read this book. I feel that the author has so eloquently articulated the feelings and revelations I have come to understand after decades of relationship experience. Young people would be well served to read this novel before attempting serious romantic connections, as the knowledge and perspective the author provides would seriously circumvent a lot of the angst, frustrations and heart aches common to relationships which are built around a society accepted, standard of irrational, untraceable goals for personal connection and commitment. This book helps outline a healthy, realistic course of a love between two people that serves as a better example than most we are given in the media / story telling available today. This book has changed my life!!!

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Interesting exploration...

This book really nails the human experience. Worth a read to better understand how we process and how we are effected by life and love.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Love is blindness, I don't want to see...

"Love means admiration for qualities in the lover that promise to correct our weaknesses and imbalances; love is a search for completion."
- Alain de Botton, The Course of Love

An interesting approach to the genre. This could have been an interesting book that explores relationships and love through all the stages, but Botton enjoys approaching things with a bit of novelty. And, for the most part, it works. Instead of breaking sections down by stage/ages, Botton uses two characters and their development/romance/love to serve as a central narrative where he can unbutton the blouse of love. The narrative is broken down into 5 major sections: Romanticism, Ever After, Children, Adultery, Beyond Romanticism. His protagonists Rabih and Kirsten make the journey and Botton hangs around and narrates with frequent philosophical asides.

This format worked for about 200 of the 225 pages. If he tried this for 300, I would probably have rejected his approach as gimmicky. But, again, he landed it. Part of the reason I only gave it 4-stars is I do wish he had accompanied this with at least endnotes for the studies, books, etc., that he references. I completely understand why he didn't include any of that in the text, it was teaching through narrative so he tried to almost remove everything that would get in the way of his instructive story (except for the italicized asides). But still, it would have been better with a bit of meat behind the scenes. I don't need to see the tubas, but I like the idea knowing who is playing the notes behind the curtain.

3 people found this helpful

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Required reading

This should be given to every pubescent child who begins to think of romantic love. And required to re read every 5 years hence forward. Excellent, engaging and encouraging!!!

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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28 years married and still so much to learn. great

wonderful book that everybody getting married or married should listen to with their significant other

3 people found this helpful

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  • io
  • 01-31-17

good at understanding the obstacles in a relations

loved it however the narrator gets too quiet during whispers. if you are driving a noisy truck all day you might miss about a quarter of this book

2 people found this helpful

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  • N.
  • 07-18-16

Wonderful

An honest look into love that is insightful and thoughtful. A fantastically wonderful listen that is sure to entertain as well as educate.

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful story, spectacular performance

Wonderful story, guaranteed to make your soul wiser and your heart softer. I'm not married, but this story took me 3 decades into the future and showed what love is all about. As the author says, "love is a skill, not an enthusiasm". At times I laughed, drifted off into pensive contemplation, or felt uplifted with a very humble and humananistic sense of hope that in the end, all will be well. Narrator is spectacular, true proof that audiobooks are worth it in every way.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book, narrator hard to understand at times

The narrator was hard to understand when he was reading female lines. He whispers these lines

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Perspective and Possibly Life- Altering

Disappointment in romance and love is inevitable in marriage. That's de Botton's bottom line, and he makes the case elegantly, cogently and even humorously. I loved this book and will be recommending it to any friends who will listen, married and unmarried. I'll also be reading more by this author, who is truly brilliant. Narration was perfect and somehow the narrator (working with great material) made a serious and sobering realization fun.

1 person found this helpful