MixedLos Angeles Review of BooksThroughout the novel, Hughes makes deft use of the elasticity of language, so the text is packed with neologisms and wordplay. The abundance of figurative language gives a luminous clarity to the characters ... While the narrative’s dense prose sparkles with acuity and concision, the pacing is uneven. There are chapters when it slows to a crawl before accelerating to a surge. In one particularly tiresome passage, the ingredients of the four family members’ restaurant entrees are painstakingly listed ... Gael herself has a consistent voice, but is ultimately a static character buoyed by an unflagging and somewhat unrealistic self-assurance. A protean figure only in appearance, she shows no personal growth through the 300-plus-page narrative ... Gael’s lack of maturation is what prevents this novel from being a conventional bildungsroman but makes it a modern one.
Alain De Botton
MixedThe Los Angeles Review of BooksWritten in de Botton’s characteristic style — accessible and sprinkled with friendly parenthetical asides — The Course of Love picks up where On Love leaves off ... For readers who crave a conventional novel, the interruptive narration of The Course of Love will be as welcome as Clippy, the insufferable but well-intentioned paperclip character that offered to assist you in early versions of Microsoft Word ... The commentary-heavy style of the novel proves to be problematic in other ways. Gone are the warmth and immediacy of the characters in On Love, which benefited from a first-person point of view ... The Course of Love retains some of the finest hallmarks of de Botton’s style, in spite of its frequently soggy analysis about relationship dynamics. It maintains his empathetic tone, scintillating wit, and fastidiously crafted prose.