Saturday, August 8, 2009

Idea of Love by Louise Dean

Flap copy from ARC:
"Richard’s life is unraveling: his beautiful wife, Valerie, is having an affair, his son Maxence may (or may not) be mentally disturbed, and the idyllic life he’d hoped for when they moved to Provence has become more nightmare than paradise. Suddenly, a routine trip to East Africa to sell pharmaceuticals is more than he can handle and his life starts to implode as he realizes that the idea of a life full of that love he has cherished is a mere illusion.

Next door, their neighbour, Rachel makes a trip to West Africa which leaves her questioning her ideals and her faith. Now Rachel, and her husband Jeff, as well as Richard and Valerie, are left groping for the things that once defined them.

Their excursions to Africa will lead them into their own private heart of darkness, and will bring shock waves home to their little Eden, unsettling the very idea of love."


I chose this book based on the flap copy description which led me to believe it was a book about Africa and the impact the continent had on the lives of two expats. In reality, this is a book about a group of self-involved expats who make fleeting visits to Africa which may or may not lead to some manner of existential crisis. Unfortunately, the story isn't really a story, it is a series of vignettes focused on individual characters, none of who really spoke to me or created any feelings of interest or sympathy.

The book is well-written, and some of the characters are well-drawn, but ultiamtely, I was left wondering exactly what I was supposed to take away from this reading experience. I do feel the flap copy was misleading- if the book description had more accurately reflected the actual contents, I might not be left feel so disastisfied by this novel.

1 comment:

jennysbooks said...

I'm always so frustrated when things like this happen! I get a picture in my mind of what a book's going to be like, and I hate it when they let me down. :)