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Essays in Love

Narrated by: James Wilby
Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (75 ratings)

Non-member price: $24.97

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Publisher's 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 listeners say about Essays in Love

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  • Sam
  • 24-12-2018

A very good observation of any relationship

I enjoyed listening to this book as it was my first book from Alain de Botton. I quite liked his view and accurate observation on different stages of a relationship. going to listen to the next one from him :)

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  • Maria L. Lantin
  • 07-05-2012

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • MM
  • 22-02-2018

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Andre Mendes
  • 21-05-2016

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 02-06-2020

Thought provoking and well performed

I enjoyed this peek into the brain of a young man contemplating love and romance, and found it to be enlightening and relatable. The narrator keeps things moving along crisply, which is crucial since much of the book is comprised not of action but of musings. I look forward to listening to The Course of Love next.

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  • Colby L Mortensen
  • 02-03-2020

Unbearable

Unbearably profound in its complexity and depth. So attuned to the nuances of romances spells, and an amazing gift of disillusionment.

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  • Paula Nilsson
  • 26-03-2019

Analysis on what makes the "fall of angels" ; LOVE

Profound yet clear novel for the experienced or ignorant lad, when it comes to love relationships. Hence you can apply the majority of the given situations on ANY type of interpersonal relationships. Top-read for the enthusiast on Love and it's philosophy of everyday.

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  • Lynn Labe
  • 15-07-2017

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.

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  • Addi - Dallas Tx
  • 11-07-2017

Uuug

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

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  • Son
  • 06-11-2016

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.

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  • Riley
  • 27-03-2016

most beautifully narrated audiobook ever

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

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • M
  • 29-03-2013

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.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Tarot Dynamo
  • 27-11-2016

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.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Red Tomato
  • 27-12-2012

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.

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  • Sym
  • 01-10-2019

Not my cup of grey

This wasn’t for me. Some of it was useful and some parts are funny but generally could not connect or relate with the posh narration. I didn’t find it consistently universal or ironically clear about the specifics of a very upper middle class perspective/experience of romance. In fairness I can see others might enjoy tho

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  • A Agnes
  • 20-10-2018

intellectual and boring - lacking emotional depth

Got too bored of both Mr DB's books on love. Great idea for a book, but I wonder where nice man might benefit from a therapeutic exercise to calm down the intellect and allow for the emotional, and other aspects of wisdom to thrive. I prescribe a course of therapy - no shame in that

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  • Maz
  • 09-08-2020

Lite

Having read all of Alain De Botton’s books, this one did not live up to my high expectations. The narrative felt somewhat trashy, and the narrator made it feel more so. Sorry Alain.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-04-2020

Alain De Botton does it again

Download it. A whole cascade of life altering knowledge will come your way, a lot of which you sort of knew deep down anyway.

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  • Ja
  • 28-02-2020

Dire

I've watched Alain de Boton's School of Life videos and read some of his books with pleasure. They are both funny and knowledgable and I've learned a lot, and even changed my behavior (when I remember). This book was a tremendous disappointment, it was a series of lectures and statistics clothed lightly as a novel with a ludicrous set of unbelievable, one-dimensional characters. Even the author could not inject enthusiasm reading his own book. Readers, watch his brilliant YouTube videos instead and get the substance of this 'novel', far more wittily presented in just over an hour..

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  • bobo
  • 15-05-2019

great listen on philosophy of love & relationships

insightful. I have definitely learnt and understood a lot about the psychological and social mechanisms behind situations in which I have recognised myself and others. the couple's story serves as a prototype with which one can identify at least in some parts. language is nice and philosophical, however sometimes makes it unnecessarily complicated . altogether really good and very grateful for good writings on this topic that concerns all of us, thanks Alain

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  • Alireza B.
  • 18-11-2018

Excellent performance and a gripping story

A simple love story analysed based on different philosophical schools. James Wilby's performance brought it to life and gave it the vigour that stops you from pausing this book.