September 5, 2005

The most beautiful book in the world

41. Four Letters of Love, by Niall Williams

Wives create their husbands. They begin with that rough raw material, that blundering, well-meaning and handsome youthfulness they have fallen in love with, and then commence the forty years of unstinting labour it takes to make the man with whom they can live.


12 thoughts on “The most beautiful book in the world

  1. Yes!
    I decided to dispose of a whole lot of books. Keep the Penguin Classics, the Freya Norths, the Marian Keyes. Then I got to this and realised that although there was no logical reason to keep it I could not bear to pass it on.

  2. Karen, You don’t actually believe that, though, do you?

  3. S’OK Pete, us “husbands” are in on the joke too… you go along with it in the full knowledge that it’s a load of tosh.
    Panic not, honey.
    (ohh little too familiar? should I call you sweetie-pie instead??)

  4. Craziness! Why would they even want to do that? If you’ve found someone that you love, why would you want to change them at all? It’s no use having someone with whom you can live if you don’t want to live with them.
    I refuse to believe that Karen subscribes to the school of belief that gave us the above quote. It’s inconceivable. Please, babe, say it ain’t so.

  5. The point is that you do fall in love with a first impression. Not everyone is lucky enough that the second and third and fourth impressions are better than the first, and it just keeps getting better. Some people (especially in the time and place where this book was set) have no idea what the long-haul is going to be like before they’re in the middle of it.
    You can’t base a marriage on flowers and meals out and laughing at each other’s jokes however crap they are; but lots of people do.
    Obviously the quote is somewhat out of context; perhaps you should read the book.

  6. Tempting, but it sounds to me like the book describes a world to which I could not relate. As someone who put a lot of effort into becoming a person that they could live with (and within), the thought of allowing someone else to take away everything that you value about yourself is deeply upsetting.

  7. I know, I know. I’m just feeling very sensitive. I think I’m manstruating.

  8. Perhaps husbands also make their wives. They fall in love with someone who always wears matching underwear and is constantly up for it, and nag her until she learns how to make apple pie and iron their shirts. Dontcha think?

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