The Course of Love

The Course of Love

eBook - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Penguin UK


A brilliant new novel about love and marriage in the modern world - from the author the bestselling novel Essays in Love

Modern love is never easy. Society is obsessed with stories of romance, but what comes after happily ever after?

This is a love story with a difference. From dating to marriage, from having kids to having affairs, it follows the progress of a single ordinary relationship: tender, messy, hilarious, painful, and entirely un-Romantic. It is a love story for the modern world, chronicling the daily intimacies, the blazing rows, the endless tiny gestures that make up a life shared between two people. Moving and deeply insightful, The Course of Love offers us a window into essential truths about the nature of love.

Publisher: Toronto :, Signal,, 2016
ISBN: 9780241962121
Characteristics: 1 online resource

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

May 17, 2017

This pretty much paints a portrait that rings true to my experience of marriage. Remarkable in its ability to make their outwardly unremarkable relationship so complex. It might discourage some people hoping for a clearer path forward, but I found this quite uplifting and affirming to know my struggles are shared. I'm ready to read it again and revisit some of the commentary that is interspersed with the story.

Literature_Lover Feb 19, 2017

A powerful book... filled with enough worthy quotes to fill a respectable Pinterest board (substitute journal, wall or scrapbook for Pinterest if you have no idea what I'm talking about here). It's written in what I found initially to be a slightly jarring style, pairing narrative with an italicized set of dictums about love, marriage and the realities of modern day life. Perhaps this was de Botton's way of opening up his essays to a larger readership, but whatever the reason, it read almost like the voice of an omnipotent deity superimposed over the story of a fairly ordinary family. Very strange, maybe even a little alienating at times, but I did grow to like it as time passed. de Botton is witty and interesting and his comments inspire reflection.

"The course of love" is by turns depressing and inspiring, but if you are a mediocre person like myself, struggling sometimes with the realities of a mundane existence, it gives you a new perspective. de Botton presents a perhaps more accurate portrayal of two people joined together beyond the "happily ever after", sharing a mostly loving life, but recognising that life does often include things like stretch marks, dishes, fights over who gets the top shelf of the wardrobe, rubbish bins and baby poo. It normalises conflict, which I found comforting, given that often all we see in fiction and film is the gloss and glamour of early love.

To my mind, it didn't hang together perfectly, but any book that makes you think more about your life is worth reading. It's an easy read and should be compulsory for anyone who is contemplating marriage or who has already made the jump.

Nov 09, 2016

November is non-fiction month on BookTube and although classified as a work of fiction, the narrator of this book gives enough non-fiction insight into what a relationship takes to warrant it acceptable on my mind as non-fiction.
It follows the life of Rabih and Kirsten (Mostly told from Rabih's point of view) as to what they thought love meant as a teenager, their courtship and life beyond the saying of "I do."
Told in five main themes, (Romanticism, Ever After, Children, Adultery and Beyond Romanticism) we have a third person narrative explain the life journey that Rabih and Kirsten go through, liberally interspersed with analysis, psychology or philosophical insights to each situation.
More than once I found myself having 'a-ha' moments as De Botton looks at situations from both sides of the coin. It does take some getting used to, these insights or remarks, when first embarking on reading this book, as the remarks would seem to interrupt the flow of the story. But as one goes deeper into the novel, one cannot help but gain greater insights to the situations the couple find themselves in.
"The best cure for love is to get to know them better." page 177
Alain De Botton has written a number of non-fiction books and speaks publically about the everyday matters of life and is probably the only philosopher I've ever had the time of day for.
"Love is a skill, not just an enthusiasm." page 198
I read this book in one sitting. This is a book I would highly recommend anyone wanting to have, or be in an actual relationship. Short, sharp and witty, it is, I'm sure, going to become a favoured book to stand the test of time.

Bunny_Watson716 Sep 21, 2016

The course of love never did run smoothly ... or does it? Alain de Botton has managed to write a love story that pinpoints, with delicacy and compassion, what a real love story is. Rabih and Kirsten's relationship has many ups and downs, and the authors ability to look at both characters compassionately makes this a lovely read.

robertafsmith Jul 21, 2016

Roberta's Pick: There are two threads in this book - the love story of Rabih and Kirsten, and the author's (italicized) comments on their story. You will either grow to love this (I did) or it will make you want to pluck out your eyes. Alain de Botton is one of those men who writes sensitively and intelligently about love. And from the outset he makes it abundantly clear that the first stage, when you have just met a new love, is not the most important bit. It's what comes after that makes for a real love story. Staff Pickles.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings

PPL owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

To Top