Enough About Love leaves you wanting more
© 2011 Amy Goodfellow Wagner
ENOUGH ABOUT LOVE
By Herve Le Tellier
Translated from the French by Adriana Hunter
“What is knowledge for a lot of people if not an organized accumulation of anecdotes? “Herve Le Tellier’s novel, “Enough About Love,” asks. And, indeed, this very French book is, in fact, nothing less than a masterfully organized accumulation of anecdotes about love – about who we love, why we love, and how we love. Le Tellier makes this clear right from the start: “Any man – or woman –who wants to hear nothing – or no more – about love should put this book down.”
Anna, an analysand of Thomas’, describes being struck by thunder when she encounters the writer Yves for the first time. A doctor herself, Anna is married to Stan, an ophthalmologist, yet Yves proves irresistible.
Thomas himself is thunderstruck when he meets Louise, a stylish lawyer and wife of Romain. Like Anna, Louise is a mother.
The structure of the novel mirrors that of a book that Yves wants to write about six characters that’s organized around a complicated game of Abkhazian Dominoes, “every double played will give rise to a chapter with just one character, a tile with two different numbers to a chapter with two characters, very occasionally three if one of them says and does nothing. Double zero is an interesting case: it will produce a chapter with two secondary characters or just one.”
The progress of these love affairs – Thomas and Louise’s and Yves and Anna’s – is deftly sketched in a series of interrelated anecdotal vignettes. We know Anna, for instance, by an “Incomplete list” of clothes that she has bought. The characters move in the small world of haute bourgeois Paris — almost, but not quite knowing each other. Their circumscribed, comfortable lives are all irrevocably changed by the unexpected arrival of love and passion.
The themes are big, but Le Tellier – a seasoned author – has a light touch. “Yves is going to break up with Ariane. He thinks that if he had not met Anna Stein, it could have lasted a long time. Unless he met Anna Stein because it could not go on any longer. He is tickled by the balance between these two sentences, and writes them in his notebook. “
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Is a bolt from the blue enough to uproot lives and weld these new couples together? Or, as Le Tellier writes, “If you think of life as a book, you’ll never be able to see where it finishes.” The truth of the matter is that there is never enough about love.