Friday, March 23, 2012

Love Alone by Emmanuel Kattan

Love Alone by Emmanuel Kattan

Release Date
: October 22nd 2011
Pages: 225
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Thomas Allen Publishers
Buy It: Book Depository
Judith and Antoine were lovers for a brief time. Then, suddenly, brutally, it ended. Nine years later, they meet again and attempt to revive their old passion. They dream of rewriting their history and burning the memories that are still troubling their souls. Eventually, the couple’s shared madness and jealousy turns homicidal.
Love Alone was one of those books that instantly intrigued me with its premise– I mean, homicidal lovers? But the actual novel, while one I enjoyed, was really different than I expected. In a way, it was a lot more about thoughts and feelings than actions, but the actions that did occur were definitely pretty disturbing.

After finishing the book, I described it as "Milan Kundera meets Simon Van Booy"– two of my favourite authors– "and the result is an incredibly but slightly twisted love child." Love Alone is both strange and lovely, filled with dozens of quotes I had to scribble down as I was reading. Lines like:
"Each return creates a new misrepresentation on the surface of the past; when we come back to the same memory too often, it becomes unrecognizable in the end."
"It’s the loves we haven’t lived that are the hardest to forget." 
But Kattan hasn't just written a bunch of pretty words, they are strung together into a creepy and intriguing novel. Despite that, the stage where Judith and Antoine went from being jealous that the other had lovers while they were apart, to being okay with murder, didn't quite connect with me. Kattan wrote about it beautifully, but some of their actions just felt so absurd, that it was really hard for me to relate to as a reader.

Thinking back, several months after reading the novel, my disconnect is a bigger concern than it was for me when I was reading it. When I was reading the book I was just completely entranced by the beautiful writing, but in retrospect, it's a novel I'm unlikely to reread because of the disbelief I felt about the story once it took its more wild turns. Still, Love Alone is an intriguing and beautifully written novel, and Kattan has definitely caught my attention.

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