Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Where Love Lies, by Julie Cohen

image002Disclaimer: Julie Cohen is a friend. However, I don’t review books (even, no, *especially* by friends) unless I feel so strongly that I can’t do otherwise.

Sitting down to write this review, I realised that I had a problem. The crucial thing about this book, the thing that makes it devastating (rather than “merely” poignant) is also the thing I can’t talk about. To give it away would be to deprive you of the… well, not joy. No, definitely not that. But the impact of the revelation would be gone.

Cohen’s heroine, Felicity, is an odd creature. You might find her charming; personally, I found her rather annoying, self-consciously quirky and just a little bit “off,” somehow, in a way I couldn’t quite qualify. When she begins mentally and emotionally to detach from her staunch, lovely husband in favour of her memories of an ex-boyfriend, you may want to throttle her. I know I did.  The more she gives herself over to the fantasy, the more clearly you can see trouble ahead; or so you think. But when that trouble arrives, it’s in a form nobody could predict, much less help. All that is solid melts into air (sometimes only Marx will do), and every comfortable assumption dissolves into something far more disturbing and chaotic.

This is not comfort reading; something would be very wrong if it were. It offers catharsis, not indulgence. It is the best kind of serious commercial fiction. Read it; assume nothing.

Bantam, 372 pp. ISBN: 9780593070857



2 comments on “Where Love Lies, by Julie Cohen

  1. Martine Frampton
    May 30, 2014

    I would usually be put off by the cover and title but your review has piqued my interest. thanks

  2. Jackie
    May 31, 2014

    Well, you certainly know how to get us curious, don’t you? I don’t think this is one for me, but I bet my mom would like it, so I’ll be checking the library for it.

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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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