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Against Love: A Polemicby Laura Kipnis
Synopses & Reviews
Who would dream of being against love? No one.
Love is, as everyone knows, a mysterious and all-controlling force, with vast power over our thoughts and life decisions.
But is there something a bit worrisome about all this uniformity of opinion? Is this the one subject about which no disagreement will be entertained, about which one truth alone is permissible? Consider that the most powerful organized religions produce the occasional heretic; every ideology has its apostates; even sacred cows find their butchers. Except for love.
Hence the necessity for a polemic against it. A polemic is designed to be the prose equivalent of a small explosive device placed under your E-Z-Boy lounger. It won't injure you (well, not severely); it's just supposed to shake things up and rattle a few convictions.
"Engagingly acerbic...extremely funny....A deft indictment of the marital ideal, as well as a celebration of the dissent that constitutes adultery, delivered in pointed daggers of prose." The New Yorker
"If you think of 'family values' as something more, better and different from simply loving the people in your family, avoid this book for fear of apoplexy." The Washington Post
"Reading Against Love, I felt invigorated half the time and plunged into the deepest, most morose pit of self-pitying despair the rest of it — in other words, I felt as if I were in love. This seems to have been Kipnis's aim." Salon
"Wittily invigorating....[Kipnis] possesses the gleeful, viperish wit of a Dorothy Parker and the energetic charisma of a cheerleader. She is dead-on about the everyday exhaustion a relationship can produce." Slate
"A person would need a heart of stone not to rejoice at the drubbing [Kipnis] delivers....Funny and astute...much of the writing is informed and bracing, amplifying ideas about social control derived from Engels, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Weber, Raymond Williams, Foucault and Adam Phillips." Chicago Tribune
"[Kipnis is] a talented social satirist." Weekly Standard
"[R]agingly witty yet contemplative....[A] razor-sharp intelligence and a gleeful sense of irony....Kipnis balances her scintillating, on-target observations...with an honest sense of compassion for human experience." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"The tone's light, even playful, but the thesis is fundamentally serious....An intelligent, literate, and allusive take that raises many intriguing questions, even if it doesn't always answer them." Kirkus Reviews
"Kipnis's treatise reads like a brisk, sophisticated novel about the beginning, middle and end of an adulterous affair....[A] bravura book....If this is the kind of writing that's going to come after theory, literary criticism is looking up." Times Literary Supplement (U.K.)
"[W]onderfully clever, deliciously written....Kipnis blends journalistic pizazz and philosophical nerve....Whether you agree or not, Kipnis' crackling colloquial style keeps Against Love rollicking forward, often hilariously." Carlin Romano, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"[A] timely and entertaining cherry bomb of a book....Reading Against Love is like watching a great episode of Sex and the City — only with Samantha narrating instead of that dreary moralist Carrie." Sharon Ullman, The Boston Globe
"Against Love is more an adolescent's rant than an insightful look into the real problems of marriage....[Kipnis] eschews argument in favor of a scatter-gun approach of provocative apercus." Selina O'Grady, The San Francisco Chronicle
"Kipnis writes with clarity and humor about our relationship foibles and offers provocative alternatives. Not a good read for romantics and advocates of traditional family values but recommended for everyone else..." Library Journal
"[A]gilely argued, slyly insurgent....Canny and articulate, Kipnis lures readers into musing over love's many facets, asking what love has to do with our avidity for control." Booklist
"[A] joyous, incisive tract in praise of adultery....Against Love proves delightfully paradoxical: didactic and playful, intellectual and entertaining, high-brow yet eminently readable." Baz Dreisinger, The New York Observer
"Against Love is a wonderfully provocative book, daring and incisive, written with verve and no small amount of humor. It raises a thousand questions most of us lack the courage to ask, about domestic life and even the meaning of the human enterprise, while remaining at every instant a delight to read." Scott Turow
"This book is trouble...and the worst thing is that Kipnis is so convincing. A vastly entertaining and smart work of social criticism....An unsettling and witty deconstruction of love and marriage." NPR's "Fresh Air"
"Will all the adulterers in the room please stand up?" So begins Kipnis's profoundly provocative and waggish inquiry into our never-ending quest for lasting love, and its attendant issues of fidelity and betrayal.
About the Author
Laura Kipnis is a professor of media studies at Northwestern University. She has received fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has published many essays and articles on sexual politics and contemporary culture both here and abroad.
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