Today we are a stop on a fantastic Blog Tour for Sophie Ratcliffe’s The Lost Properties of Love, published by William Collins.
Firstly, a little bit of a blurb for you..
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.
Now I firstly want to mention that this book talks a bit about trains and London and I read it whilst on the train to and from London (and that does NOT happen very often).. Spooky.
So yeah, I really enjoyed this book! An exploration of objects, memories and stories as means of identity. Using Anthony Trollope and Kate Field and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Ratcliffe weaves a narrative of love, of loss, of serendipity.
I just wanted to pick out a few lines from the book that resonated with me:
“You don’t need to have an affair. Every reader does it. In the moment we touch the cover, a second world emerges – another reality with its own rules of space and time.”
How exciting and sexy does that sound? The idea that every book we read, every new world we enter into is like an ‘affair’ with all those before. Does that mean every new book we read takes something from all those previous? Does it make those before less meaningful, less important?
“While we’re kept apart from the time-line of everyday life, we are, once on board the train, forced to enter an intimate world of space and time with a group of complete strangers.”
It’s so true. Having read this on a train, I could totally feel what Ratcliffe meant with that sentence. Train time and real time are two totally different experiences.
“Would having [my lost] objects back, neatly labelled and catalogued, bring any form of satisfaction? Or is it that I am now more attached to the loss than the having?”
An interesting thought, and more interesting still to consider extending it to people. Does the loss of people, of relationships in our lives hurt more, mean more than having those people and those relationships in the first place? I suppose it’s that whole rose-tinted glasses, hindsight thing where the memory of the thing outweighs the meaningfulness of the thing itself and finding it could be more disappointing than keeping it lost.
Like I said, I’m a big fan of this book! It contains some really nice anecdotes and ponderings and I definitely want to go off and read Anna Karenina now, and maybe a bit of Trollope…. (any recommendations?)
Big thanks again to William Collins and Anne Cater from Random Things Through My Letterbox for letting me read this book and be a part of this wonderful tour.
Over and out,