Synopsis (from Amazon)
How does one talk about love?
We are all beginners when it comes to love, from those tentative first dates to learning how to live with, or without, someone. But how does one describe love? How does one chart its delights and pleasures, its depths and desolations? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary starts where we all once started – with the alphabet.
Constructing the story of a relationship as a dictionary, Levithan explores the intimacies and workings of love through his nameless narrator, to paint a moving portrait of love through everyday words. Cleverly using the confines of language to provide an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being part of a couple, Levithan gives us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.
I read this book alongside two others both of which I am somewhat struggling with, not enough to give up but enough to need a break. The Lover’s Dictionary seemed perfect for those purposes. It’s an easy read and easy to break up into little chunks so you can just read a page or two as something easy. Despite the fact I was using it as a rest-stop book it’s taken me less than 3 days to read, and I think it would only take a couple of hours if read alone.
Would I call it a novel? Well I don’t know really, although there is certainly a story in there it isn’t a novel in the conventional sense, and you need to fill in a lot of gaps yourself. I liked the way it added emotion to words in a way just reading a word doesn’t do. There’s a certain suggestion that the words one reads are not ‘just words’ but have a whole other layer of meaning if you are so inclinded to look for them. As a reader it held a certain beauty in the way it approached words but also in the way it would sometimes speak of books and reading. There seemed to be two loves there in a way, the love of a lover, but the love of books was there too.
It felt personal and I liked that.
I wouldn’t recommend the Kindle edition specifically though. The editing was bad, quite often the word being defined was on the previous page to the definition, and that doesn’t really work. When I bought it on Kindle it was on offer (99p I think) so I don’t really mind, but I would have if I payed full price.
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