How does one talk about love?
At the core of this desire is the belief that everything can be perfect.
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 don’t normally do this kind of thing,’ you said.
‘Neither do I,’ I assured you.
And later it turned out we had both met people online before, and we had both slept with people on first dates before, and we had both found ourselves falling too fast before. But we comforted ourselves with what we really meant to say, which was: ‘I don’t normally feel this good about what I’m doing.’
Measure the hope of that moment, that feeling.
Everything else will be measured against it.
Reviews of The Lover’s Dictionary
- ‘[An] inspired idea… both [narrator and partner] come wonderfully alive, emerging as complex, multidimensional human beings, happy and unhappy, ebullient and angry, sweet and sour, and so – delightfully – forth… accomplished artfully and satisfyingly.’ Michael Cart, Booklist (Starred Review)