In her dark and witty third novel, award-winning Man Booker longlisted author Louise Dean explores the perplexing marriages of two couples living in Provence.
Richard is the head of sales in Africa for a pharmaceutical company. He spends most of his time away on business, sleeping with other women and pushing psychiatric drugs on a developing market. Back in Provence, he and his wife, Valérie, no longer share a bed, and his teenage son, Maxence, is hearing voices. When Richard begins an affair with a neighbour, Rachel, he discovers that Valérie, too, is having an affair - with Rachel's husband, Jeff. Suddenly, a routine trip to Africa to sell pharmaceuticals is more than he can handle and his life starts to implode as he realizes that the idea of a life full of that love he has cherished is a mere illusion.
'With wry humour, Dean captures the gloom of existences imploding in incongruous surroundings.' The Observer
'Engaging...it is hard to stop turning the pages...arresting...fizzes with talent.' Sunday Times
'Wonderfully complex and original novel about desire, disappointment and mental illness, largely set in ex-pat Provence...Louise Dean's lovely rendering of her awful people makes The Idea of Love an enormous delight.’ The Independent
'An acute, cynical wit... An unforgettable study of the dark side of the mind.' The Times
'This dark novel is interesting and original, a study of love but not a romance and a story with many morals.’ The Telegraph
‘In her third novel, Louise Dean regards with a sardonic eye a group of scalded lovers ricocheting between desire, despair and dipsomania.....Dean's portrayal of Maxence's madness and his mission to save souls is tender and funny, and lifts the novel far above the torrid soul-searching of its narcissistic lovers.’ The Guardian
'Louise Dean's third novel is a careful dissection of our search for love in its many forms – sexual, religious, parental, and brotherly
Dean has a deliciously wry eye for the convincing detail.’ Literary Review
'An unusual but fascinating story that examines the different ways in which people face the harsh realities of love gone wrong.’ Tatler