Natasha Lunn's Conversations on Love is the one book you need to read this year
Over the past few years I've read numerous books about love.
Dolly Alderton's acclaimed memoir, soon to be adapted into a TV series, Everything I Know About Love secured the deep rooted importance of female friendship. Megan Nolan's Acts of Desperation detailed the unmatched pain of grasping onto a toxic relationship. Sally Rooney's Normal People told the world a profound will-they-won't-they tale of passion and heartache.
I knew stories about love when I saw them. I frequently compared them to my own life, imagining myself as the main characters, placing myself amidst their pain, witnessing past selves and current experiences that were all too familiar.
Then Conversations on Love came along and my perspective of love was blown wide open. Suddenly it wasn't just about dating, boyfriends, and breakups - it was about everything else in between too.
Comprised of question-and-answer interviews with notable psychologists, authors, and creators woven through Lunn's own experiences of love, heartbreak, and grief, the book presents a picture of love that is all-encompassing. The good, the bad, and the mundane.
Lunn asks Dolly Alderton about vulnerability in friendship. She chats to Ayisha Malik about dating as a Muslim woman. She and Emily Nagoski consider sex and the reasons why we sometimes want it so much (Capitalism, it turns out.
Lunn doesn't just speak to others on the topic, she shares a part of herself too. In passages that are raw and sometimes devastating, she tells her story of love lost before eventually meeting her husband Dan, her tragic miscarriage days before her scheduled honeymoon, and the story behind how the grief of losing an unborn child forced her to find a way to connect again.
She also tells of being dumped outside a McDonald's, belly laughing with her family, and how one of her greatest loves came in the form of a best friend.
Ordinarily when presented with stories of marriage and family, I separate myself. These are things I currently don't have and perhaps don't even want.
But Conversations on Love doesn't allow for distance, you're right there. Feeling every betrayal, every awkward moment, every intense painful discovery that despite their oftentimes cataclysmic results, always manages to come back to one thing - the human connection. And that includes you, even if you haven't experienced it yet.
There's an honesty to these interviews, a depth that not just any journalist would be able to reach. Lunn does, in fact she stays there the entire time, giving each speaker the time to tell their story but never straying far from her overarching theme.
Conversations on Love will change your perspective of connection, love, friendship, grief, and everything in between. It's the most important book I've read this year, and it may have changed the way I approach relationships forever.
Conversations on Love is due for release in Ireland on July 15, 2021.