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A Reader of Fictions: Foolish Love - Rufus Wainwright

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Foolish Love - Rufus Wainwright

The Republic of Love

Carol Shields
Pages: 366
Publisher: Penguin

Brief Summary

The Republic of Love
is the story of two people: Tom and Fay. Tom is forty years old and thrice divorced. Every week he attends meetings for the newly single, although he is no longer fresh out of a relationship. His life is filled primarily by these meetings, a few awkward dates and his career as a night-time disc jockey. Fay has never married, although she has come close a couple of times; She has, however, been in a number of years-long relationships. For some reason, neither Tom nor Fay seems able to make their romantic relationships stick.

I own several of Carol Shields' novels, but this is the first one I have gotten around to reading. Incidentally, Carol Shields is an alumna of my alma mater, Hanover College. Pretty much our only famous one (unless you count good ol' Woody Harrelson, who may or may not have actually graduated - I think he got an honorary degree subsequently).

The writing is quite highbrow, full of five dollar words and complicated sentences. This does make a rather nice change from all of the teen fiction I have been reading. For the most part, I really loved her writing style. Every so often, a particular sentence would strike me as a bit over the top, as though big words had been used solely for the sake of using big words.

The narrative of the story moves along at a good pace, especially through the first half of the book. The format of the story, which follows the two main characters in alternating chapters, propels the reader forward, curious to discover how and when they will actually meet. I really loved the thought-provoking ideas about love, serendipity, marriage and being single that are woven throughout this novel. The theme of the interconnectedness of people's lives and the degrees of separation was particularly fascinating. It reminded me a lot of a slightly darker and more literary version of When Harry Met Sally, only not the plot with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. It called to mind the little insert stories about how people met.

I highly recommend this to literary fiction fans. For those who like easy reads, not so much. This is an excellent novel (thank goodness, since I do own several more by Shields!).

"I don't want to hold you and feel so helpless
I don't want to smell you and lose my senses
And smile in slow motion
With eyes in love

I twist like a corkscrew
The sweetness rising
I drink from the bottle, weeping
Why won't you last?
Why can't you last"

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