The Idea of Love
By (author) Louise Dean
Idea of Love by Louise Dean
Book DescriptionWhen foreign families converge on Provence for a better life, it seems as if sunshine, drinking and partying will create an idyllic little community of like-minded sorts. But compelled to venture far from this Eden to Africa, two of the couples lives are changed irrevocably when each begins to doubt themselves, who they are and why they're there. For Richard, life unravels alarmingly quickly when he loses his marriage, his home, and his job in pharmaceutical sales and finally maybe even his mind; for his wife Valerie and for their friends Jeff and Rachel it's the pursuit of the idea of love that salvages what they hold dear and only love itself that grants any enlightenment. But for the children in the story, the awkward unsettling Maxence and angelic little Maud, The Idea of Love is much simpler.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781905490165
(240mm x 161mm x 29mm)
Imprint: Fig Tree
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 7-Aug-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Louise Dean
US Kirkus Review » Brittle, sometimes brutal comedy of sex and marriage shows British and American ex-pats spending some very unhappy years in a very unromanticized South of France. British pharmaceuticals salesman Richard lives "on the crossroads of rip-you-off-Riviera and rob-you-blind-Provence" with his French wife Valerie and 13-year-old son Maxence, who may or may not have serious psychological problems. Valerie's parents live next door, mostly on Richard's largesse. Drawn with few redeeming characteristics, Valerie is not only cold and lazy but seems to dislike Max. Unhappy Richard claims to yearn for an intimacy he can't find with either Valerie or the string of women he sleeps with while traveling for his job. Valerie and Richard socialize increasingly with their equally unhappily married neighbors, artistic but shallow American Jeff and British Rachel, a devout Christian. Gradually Valerie decides she's in love with Jeff, and Richard finds himself drawn to Rachel. Just as tensions heat up, Rachel pressures Jeff to travel with her to Africa to save orphans, realizes she has been duped - the "orphans" are not what they seem - and loses her faith. Meanwhile Richard goes to Africa to open a new territory for anti-depressants, has a moral epiphany and decides to quit his sleazy job. When Rachel learns of Valerie and Jeff's affair, she returns to England with daughter Maud, the one human being for whom Jeff genuinely cares. Richard wants to leave France too, but not without Max; Rachel demands custody, even though the boy hates his mother. Cut off from his family, without a job, Richard slides into a drunken nervous breakdown. Eventually he connects with Rachel, and they begin a long-distance love affair just as Valerie and Jeff's affair begins to cool. Whether Richard can find happiness remains unclear, but his shiftless yet loving in-laws may point the way.Although neither the plot nor the characters quite jell, Dean (This Human Season, 2007) has a darkly optimistic, intellectually humanistic sensibility that recalls Iris Murdoch. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Louise Dean
Louise Dean is the author of two previous novels: Becoming Strangers, which was awarded the Betty Trask Prize in 2004, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, and This Human Season. She lives in Kent and has three children.
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