"I need you, I love you, you could hurt me desperately; please don't"

A conversation with Alain de Botton on the nature of love and long term relationships

"I need you, I love you, you could hurt me desperately; please don't"

"Girl With a Pearl Earing" by Johannes Vermeer, circa 1665

Love and romance are big business. So too are breakups and heartache. While these subjects are prime real estate for authors and chocolatiers alike the more mundane elements of a relationship, the everyday ins and outs of loving someone else, don't have the same appeal or draw the same audience.

This is of little consequence to the provocative author and philosopher, Alain de Botton, who makes those moments between falling in love and having your heart broken the focus of his latest work, The Course of Love

Having fallen in love in Edinburgh our lead characters, Rabih and Kirsten, follow the traditional path of getting married and having children. The usual focus of love stories, this passionate groundwork has been laid before our story begins. So, instead of the sparks of a new romance, we watch as Alain's characters deal with the average tribulations of marriage and family life. 

This is not Alain's first foray into the world of romance; 20 years ago he began his writing career with a similar romantic novel, Essays in Love. A philosopher's take on the well trod 'boy meets girl' tale, this story analysed such topics as how and when to say "I love you" and guilt's role in a relationship.

Returning to the novel form since his first outing, Alain takes a similar philosophical approach to romance with The Course of Love; this time focusing on the 'happily ever after' period of a relationship. Never afraid of controversy Alain forces us to reevaluate the nature of love in the modern world.

Is love enough to make a marriage work? Do we pair off because life is too scary on our own? And is it really love if you get jealous of your partner sleeping with someone else?

Join Susan Cahill as she talks with Alain about The Course of Love and his philosophy of love and romance.

This week's music to read to,

Opening with Andrei Machado's Sobre a Brevidade da Vida part one is brought to a close with Nothing It Can by Helios. The show ends with Ghost River by Jonathan Kirksky.