Amour | How the French Talk about Love by Stefania Rousselle | Book Review

“I am single today, and I have been struggling with my thoughts. And after so many years, I want to know what it is just to be two. United. One. I’ve never had that experience. People say they ‘fall’ in love. That word is so negative. I want to ‘rise’ into love. That’s exactly what I want to do. I want to rise and fly.”

Ketty Amacin, 57, beautician

Amour. How the French Talk about Love was written by a French-American journalist, Stefania Rousselle who has spent most of her professional life reporting on terrorism and the bleakest events of the recent years. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris in November of 2015, the loss of her friend during the massacre in Bataclan and her relationship breakdown, overwhelmed by pain and sadness, Stefania set out on a journey across France in search of so-called L O V E.

Amour. How the French Talk about Love is a compilation of profoundly moving stories and photographs of people from all walks of life who try to answer the question: ‘What is love?’

These are stories of teenagers, middle aged, elderly; stories of solitude, rejection, abuse, abandonment, loss, despair, poverty, anxiety, falling in love at seventy, finding strength and will to carry on thanks to having a loving partner.

Those beautiful souls are shown as complex, fragile, nuanced, but also resilient beings, trying to navigate the mundanity of their existence.
Stefania spent a considerable amount of time with all the heroes of this book. She slept in their houses, ate and drank with them, talked with them, watched TV together, spent time with their friends, cats, dogs.
Stefania wrote in her introduction that the heroes of this book mended her heart. Reading these stories and looking at the accompanying photographs has definitely helped me to heal my own heart.
In addition, this books constitutes a beautiful portrayal of France, multilayered, complex, without pathos.
I highly recommend this books to have it on your coffee table and once in a while to read one story and to contemplate the meaning of love in all its complexity.

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