Love, actually, is the theme of our top three books this month.
Jojo Moyes (Penguin Random House UK, Rs 599)
Jojo Moyes has written over 15 novels so far, mostly in the realm of contemporary romance, and has collectively sold 30 million copies worldwide. Her books have been translated into 44 languages and she has topped the charts in 12 countries. But please do not assume that we are going to this book a top rating simply because of the author’s past laurels. No, this book is an addiction on its own merit. With characters and situations that are completely believable and a sparkling honesty in its portrayal of the life of an Englishwoman in New York, this one’s destined to be another winner.
Eleven Ways to Love
(Penguin Random House India, Rs 499)
This book is collection of 11 essays that are meant to portray the different voices of love – love that cannot be “boxed in and easily defined”. They cover a large and even brave range of issues related to romantic relationships – transgender romance, an overweight girl learning to love herself through her lover, racism in the city, disability, polyamory, class and caste differences, long distances and loneliness – all bound together by some evocative poetry. But some pieces clearly stand out and linger in your mind for days later, while others lose themselves in abstract visuals and uncontrolled trains of thought. All in all though, the book’s heart is in the right place.
The Only Story
Julian Barnes (Jonathan Cape, Rs 699)
The book is divided into three parts and told in three voices – the first, second and third person, all with the same protagonist, who gradually grows older as the book progresses. The literary technique leaves you marveling at its brilliance and yet also immensely sad. A 19-year-old boy from small-town England falls in love with a 48-year-old homemaker and mother of two grown-up daughters. They run away to London but romance isn’t as simple as all that, and life is complicated, innit? A heartrending love story, devastatingly told.