The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

I’m always up for a read or listen that explores relationships and their ebbs and flows.  Alain de Botton’s latest non-fiction work mixes the story of a relationship with notes, as if in a case study, as the couple undergoes trials, conflicts and the everyday mundane events that comprise a life.  Please read on to discover all about the audiobook title

The Course of Love

Not quite familiar with the build of this story, the author uses dual points of view to discuss the events and emotions of the relationship and marriage between Rabih and Kirsten after the first flush of new love, through struggles and changes.  If that weren’t enough, moments of struggle, conflict and even bliss are highlighted as if the couple is a case study for those wanting to learn or improve their own communications and performance.

I’ve never read or listened to anything quite like this: moments from Rabih and Kirsten are often raw and brutally honest, giving the impression that listeners and readers are a fly on the wall. Small slights are seen from both sides, communication and its little breakdowns are explored and shown to erode and weaken the bonds, and de Botton provides moments for readers and listeners to see both sides, step into a situation with knowledge of how it will affect your partner, and by extension, your relationship.

Narration by Julian Rhind-Tutt mixes deftly the academic and rather dry inserts with the more emotional perspectives of the two in the relationship.  Philosophical insets neatly present tidbits of information to readers, while the moments of action between the couple will feel familiar to many, and give new insight on those moments.  What emerges is a small treatise on the A-B-C’s of love, one or more of the insights provided will be sure to keep you thinking long after the end of the title.

Interesting and carrying the feeling of a novel while being laden with information and fuel for thought, the story is engaging and entertaining, with moments that linger long after its end.

Stars:  4 Narration: 4 Story: 4

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

Title: The Course of Love
Author: Alain de Botton
Genre: Non Fiction, Romantic Elements
Narrator: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Published by: Simon & Schuster Audio,
ISBN: 0241145473
Published on: April 28th 2016
Source: Simon and Schuster Audio
Pages: 240
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 6 minutes
Rated: four-stars
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The long-awaited and beguiling second novel from Alain de Botton that tracks the beautifully complicated arc of a romantic partnership, from the internationally bestselling author of On Love and How Proust Can Change Your Life.
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.

A copy of this title was provided via Simon and Schuster Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.


About Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton is a writer and television producer who lives in London and aims to make philosophy relevant to everyday life. He can be contacted by email directly via

He is a writer of essayistic books, which refer both to his own experiences and ideas- and those of artists, philosophers and thinkers. It's a style of writing that has been termed a 'philosophy of everyday life.'

His first book, Essays in Love [titled On Love in the US], minutely analysed the process of falling in and out of love. The style of the book was unusual, because it mixed elements of a novel together with reflections and analyses normally found in a piece of non-fiction. It's a book of which many readers are still fondest.