Journalist Natasha Lunn was almost 30 when she realized that there was no map for understanding love. While she was used to watching friends fall in and out of love, the older she got the more she had to acknowledge: her friends' relationship struggles could no longer be chalked up to youth, and the more she learned about her parents, grandparents, work colleagues, and mentors the clearer it became that age had not brought any of them any closer to understanding this elusive, transformative, consuming emotion. One night during the months she found this realization settling over her, she sat up in bed and jotted three words in a notebook: conversations on love. In that moment, Lunn understood that she didn't want advice about love, she wasn't looking for the answers, or evergreen wisdom but she craved candid, wide-ranging, sometimes uncomfortable conversations about the parts of love that often don't make it into our everyday discussions of marriage, sibling relationships, friendships, or mother/daughter bonds.
Whatever stage you’re at, from adolescent heartache to parenthood or bereavement, this deep dive into the human heart will expand and enrich your perspective on love ... In recent years we’ve seen an explosion of content exploring relationships and sex ... If you’re wondering whether Lunn can bring anything new to the table, the answer is a resounding yes. Balanced, hopeful and uplifting, Conversations on Love is full of tiny eureka moments. Perhaps there could have been a more thorough look at the institution of marriage and the evolution of family structures, but this is quibbling. Celebrating love’s glorious variety, Lunn reminds us of our responsibility to pay attention, to actively engage and show up in our relationships, for 'life is not one love story, but many'.
Like all good first-person writing, Lunn’s dilemmas strike a fairly universal note that will resonate with many readers ... While in part Conversations in Love feels like an extensively researched self-help book on how to understand and navigate love, it will also act as a sort of comfort blanket for anyone (all of us?) who have felt exposed, or in some way lacking, in our romantic encounters. The it’s-not-just-me factor of a memoir ... The interview with Roxane Gay on redefining romance is one of the most compelling in the book, not surprisingly, given Gay’s talents as a writer ...Given the impressive breadth of the interviews, Lunn is well placed to draw some interesting conclusions on our behaviour in and around love ... [Lunn] writes movingly ... Part guidebook, part memoir, this moving and informative collection that will bring readers – in or out of love – a sense of comfort.
Many of the interviews here reflect on themes pertinent to the moment: the unbearable uncertainty of love, the psychology of being alone ... [Lunn] intersperses her dialogues with her own thoughtful (if rather repetitive) commentary on how love has evolved in her life ... Lunn also casts her gaze beyond Eros to explore the complexities of friendships, sibling rivalries, parenting anxieties and filial frustrations ... One of the most insightful interviews is with the psychotherapist Philippa Perry on finding the 'right' person ... These testimonies become a call to connect more imaginatively, expansively and courageously ... Lunn is a diligent, purposeful guide to this most ineffable of subjects ... However, Conversations on Love is a curiously incomplete account because the author neglects to interview more than a handful of men ... It is frustrating that the discussions are so heteronormative too. There’s only one account of a homosexual relationship ... There are no gay men — or anyone admitting to anything faintly illicit, let alone dark or devouring. It’s all a bit frictionless and polite ... Perhaps the problem is that Lunn has only spoken to well-known (and apparently well-adjusted) people. It’s a cute marketing hook — but big names rarely lead to the best stories.