Tuesday 18 June 2019

#BlogTour The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

 Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe. It's a mixture of memoir, literary fiction and storytelling using time,space and movement as a premise.
About the Author
Sophie Ratcliffe is an academic, writer, and literary critic.
She teaches English at the University of Oxford, where she is an Associate Professor and Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall.

She is the author of On Sympathy (Oxford University Press), and edited the authorised edition of P. G. Wodehouse's letters.

In her academic work, she is interested in ideas of emotion and the history of how we feel.
She reviews regularly for the national press, and has served as a judge of a number of literary prizes, including the Baillie Gifford and Wellcome Book Prize.

Follow @soratcli on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon
Buy The Lost Properties of Love

About the book
What if you could tell the truth about who you are, without risking losing the one you love? This is a book about love affairs and why we choose to have them; a book for anyone who has ever loved and wondered what it is all about.

This is a book about the things we hide from other people. Love affairs, grief, domestic strife and the mess at the bottom of your handbag. Part memoir, part imagined history, in The Lost Properties of Love, Sophie Ratcliffe combines her own experience of childhood bereavement, a past lover, the reality about motherhood and marriage, with undiscovered stories about Tolstoy and trains, handbags and honeymoons to muse on the messiness of everyday life.

An extended train journey frames the action – and the author turns not to self-help manuals but to the fictions that have shaped our emotional and romantic landscape. Readers will find themselves propelled into Anna Karenina’s world of steam, commuting down the Northern Line, and checking out a New York El-train with Anthony Trollope’s forgotten muse, Kate Field.

As scenes in her own life collide with the stories of real and imaginary heroines, The Lost Properties of Love asks how we might find new ways of thinking about love and intimacy in the twenty-first century. Frank and painfully funny, this contemporary take on Brief Encounter – told to a backing track of classic 80s songs- is a compelling look at the workings of the human heart.

There is an interesting correlation between the piece of literature by Tolstoy, Ratcliffe chooses to focus on, and her own life. There are even parallels to be drawn between the train journeys, which lean towards memoir, and the role they play in work by Tolstoy.

Back to the correlations between Anna Karenina and Ratcliffe. What they have in common is the experience of a love and lust relationship that takes precedence over everything and everyone. A relationship which becomes more romanticised and nostalgic as time passes. The author even draws a similarity of finality in the death of Anna and the regret she feels deep inside.

One of my favourite parts of the book is the red handbag, more specifically the contents of Anna's red handbag. The imagery painted by her bag being separated from her and simultaneously her life being severed at the same time is a strong one.

The bag becomes synonymous with both the secrets we keep hidden from others and the chaos or order in our lives. What does the content of your bag say about you? Is it chaotic or orderly, are you a Mary Poppins or a Marie Kondo? What would a complete stranger be able to read from it about you?

I think this may be a bit of a marmite read. It will appeal to some and a little less to others. I can imagine it may be perceived as pretentiously academic or too evolved in a literary sense. On the other side of the coin are the readers who appreciate new attempts to meld words, worlds, genres and styles.

It's a mixture of memoir, literary fiction and storytelling using time,space and movement as a premise.

Buy The Lost Properties of Love at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: William Collins; pub date 7 Feb. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

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