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Summary

Essays in Love is a stunningly original love story. Taking in Aristotle, Wittgenstein, history, religion and Groucho Marx, Alain de Botton charts the progress of a love affair from the first kiss to argument and reconciliation, from intimacy and tenderness to the onset of anxiety and heartbreak.

©1993 Alain de Botton (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • Wakefield, United Kingdom
  • 29-03-13

Not for the lonely ...

Alain de Botton meticulously dissects that bizarre and complex creature: the Love Affair. He takes every emotion felt, and every action taken, and - through the magnifying glass of philosophy - analyses the whole process of falling in love. From the moment of the lovers’ first contact, through the heat of their passion, the rage of their arguments and the ridiculousness of their sulks, we hear what the philosophers - ancient and modern - have made of love.

As with everything of Alain de Botton’s that I’ve read, 'Essays in Love' is rich with ideas and beautifully written: he manages to put heart into what could otherwise be rather abstract intellectual concepts. The narrator is somewhat neurotic but in a necessary and likeable way, and I was with him through all of his trials. A wonderful book - brilliantly narrated, too - that is going to stay with me for a long time.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great

It wasn't what I expected, but it was a brilliant balance between being a novel and a psychological analysis of feelings of love.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Don't 'read' when your heart is breaking

A beautifully written piece, combining philosophy, psychology, observation and a captivating story absolutely seamlessly, and with such humour and sadness it is unputdownable. The narrator is a skilled storyteller, whose sensitivity to the subject permeates his voice. This book would be perfect for anyone who is single, starting a relationship, in a loving relationship, and in a relationship in trouble who needs some loving guidance and reflection.
But I beg you, do not read/listen to this when you're in the middle of heartbreak. I started listening after watching many School of Life videos on YouTube, finding them fascinating and comforting, and thought this book might help me heal from my break-up from a beloved of 6 years, the wounds of which are only a month old. I got up to a certain point in the story, and suddenly all the pain and grief are just as fresh and overpowering as they were 4 weeks ago when we finally realised, both of us, for the first time, that it was really over. As a consequence I've had a crappy weekend, and feel like I've taken 15 steps back in recovering from this heartbreak.
If I'd waited a few months, when the pain isn't so raw, it would have been immensely healing, but I listened too soon. I'll probably come back to hear the last few chapters in a few months, but for now I just wanted to add a "trigger warning" to this otherwise wonderful book. If your heart is breaking, wait a while. Sending love to all who read this that know the pain I'm feeling right now.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

this is every couple think they love each other

I found the narrator very pleasing the story however not as much. I would recommend for the silky smooth voice that is the narrator.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent narration

But also an extremely thought provoking and beautifully written book which made for very enjoyable listening

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

not as good as 'course in love'

sometimes interesting and insightful but too often divergent and abstract. The audio could have been better and more engaging.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book.

Exactly what I was looking for in a time of turbulent love and disappointment. The narration is excellent, both in timing and intonation, and the content is clear, well paced, and delightful to engage with. anyone who's ever been in love, or are looking for love should definitely read it.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Maria L. Lantin
  • 07-05-12

Every relationship you've ever analyzed

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

I wouldn't recommend this book to all my friends but I know that some of them would enjoy it as much as I did. It's for romantics that think too much sometimes. It's for realists that love to fall in love nevertheless.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Essays in Love?

There are many memorable moments...but perhaps what stands out now after a couple weeks is the way intimacy in the couple is revealed and lost. The fight scenes are funny in a "oh yeah, I've been there" kinda way.

Have you listened to any of James Wilby’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

It was my first James Wilby book and I enjoyed his reading very much.

Who was the most memorable character of Essays in Love and why?

I guess it was the main male character because he's so introspective to the point of absurdity but also insightful.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • MM
  • 22-02-18

Brilliantly plucks and weaves love's nuances

What did you love best about Essays in Love?

The story is engaging. There are really good points made, great references, and de Botton analyzes the nuances of falling in and out of love with the perspective and depth of someone who's lived a thousand lives. The narrator's voice is very attractive.

What does James Wilby bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Great voice. Very warm and theatrical (not in an exaggerated way) at the same time.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. It was so hard to even go to sleep. I had my Audible on sleep timer several times but didn't want to miss anything to grogginess. So I would relisten the same parts the next day. This book is so wise.

Any additional comments?

Definitely listen to this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • debralynn
  • 15-07-17

Good, later book is great

Good book with lots of insights, especially when you realise de Botton was 23 when he wrote it. Great narrator. Also recommend The Course of Love, which he wrote 2 decades later and is quite an amazing book.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Pearl
  • 12-07-17

Dull!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I was excited to listen to this, but couldn't finish after the first long-drawn out personal story that afforded no new insights.

Would you ever listen to anything by Alain de Botton again?

I'm not sure.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Addi G, Dallas,Tx
  • 11-07-17

Uuug

Love de Botton. This one is similar to A Course of love. That was a beautiful book. This one does not compare.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Son
  • 06-11-16

Bewildering!

The narrator's voice was sublime, as always. The story in itself was mundane, much unlike the author's take on love and his stunning talent in analyzing every psychological aspect of its every stages.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andre Mendes
  • 21-05-16

One day binge

Simply could not put this book down. There are so few stories, love stories fewer still, that capture real life so well. The book itself is a beautiful mix of philosophical topics with narrative that makes for such an enlightening and enjoyable listening experience. Very well performed, I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking for a realistic love story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrea Riley
  • 27-03-16

most beautifully narrated audiobook ever

Thoughtful, compelling story that reads like an anatomy textbook on love. Can't wait for the sequel.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Antipodean
  • 06-09-15

So close but not quite

I really like Alain de Botton, and really wanted to love this book but unfortunately the narrative pales in comparison to his philosophical digressions. Having said that, it did make me see my past relationships in a new light. The narrator was very good, although his female voice could be better.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • cheri
  • 20-06-12

Poetically Written.....Loved it

Would you consider the audio edition of Essays in Love to be better than the print version?

Yes. The narrator made the subjects pop

What was one of the most memorable moments of Essays in Love?

Every page drew me in with the brilliant form of writing.

Which character – as performed by James Wilby – was your favorite?

He performed them all beautufully

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, if I had the time