Ten Things I've Learnt About Love
Alice has just returned to London from months of travelling abroad. She is late to hear the news that her father is dying, and arrives at the family home only just in time to say goodbye. Daniel hasn't had a roof over his head for years, but to him the city of London feels like home in a way that no bricks and mortar ever did. He spends every day searching for his daughter; the daughter he has never met. Until now . . . Heart-wrenching and life-affirming, this is a unique story of love lost and found, of rootlessness and homecoming and the power of the ties that bind. It is a story for fathers and daughters everywhere.
- Hardback | 288 pages
- 142 x 218 x 28mm | 421.84g
- 31 Jan 2013
- Pan MacMillan
- London, United Kingdom
'A hymn to London -- poetic and incantatory. The gripping, hopeful love story is deftly threaded through wonderfully detailed, sensuous prose'. Martina Evans 'Sarah Butler writes a very real London, linking paths through the city with a moving, eloquent story of love, loss and family' Stella Duffy 'Heartbreaking and hopeful, Ten Things I've Learnt About Love criss-crosses London in a search for fathers and daughters, family and home. For anyone who has ever wondered where they belong, or to whom they belong, the answer can be found within Sarah Butler's tender debut novel' Vanessa Diffenbaugh, author of The Language of Flowers 'A very enjoyable read ... subtle and clever' Clare Morrall, Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Astonishing Splashes of Colour 'A tender and imaginative novel about love, belonging and the ties that bind, this is a beautifully written book that shows the reader contemporary London through the eyes of two people on personal journeys.'Choice magazine 'If this weren't billed as a debut novel, one would never know it. Sarah Butler writes with the deftness and delicacy of a master storyteller, giving us a compassionate, achingly beautiful rendering of a father and daughter.' Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound and When She Woke 'Graceful and subtle... love, in all its shape-shifting complexity, is at the core of this novel; that and the consequences -- good and bad -- of keeping secrets... The shifting and intricate dynamics of family life, and the vertiginously painful feelings of loss induced by relationship breakdown and bereavement, are written with imaginative precision. This is a thought- as well as emotion-provoking novel... It also sparkles with hope.' Independent on Sunday 'Increasingly suspenseful... a moving and satisfying debut' John Harding, Daily Mail 'A warm-hearted, hopeful fable about trying to stay true to yourself: about losing parents, building bridges and seeing miracles in the dust on the pavement' Maggie Gee 'This poignant novel about fathers and daughters, homecoming and restlessness, is also a love letter to London... Butler has viewed the city in all its weathers and moods, and this shines through on every page. Equally elegant are her observations of the emotional turmoil of her main characters as they pace the capital's highways and byways, united by a secret... A moving, life-affirming debut.'Marie Claire 'In a novel flitting between the perspectives of young Alice and homeless older gentleman Daniel, Butler gives an astute insight into both their worlds.' The Big Issue 'Explores the bonds and fractures between fathers and daughters... This is a novel strong in both style and substance that tells a poignant tale of hope and love regained' We Love This Book 'Exquisitely written... Butler writes with lucidity, compassion and a beautifully detailed eye for London and all its quirks' Metro
About Sarah Butler
Sarah Butler is in her early thirties and lives in Manchester. She runs a consultancy which develops literature and arts projects that explore and question our relationship to place. She has been writer in residence on the Central Line, the Greenwich Peninsula, and at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and has taught creative writing for the British Council in Kuala Lumpur. Ten Things I've Learnt About Love is her first novel, and will be published in twelve languages around the world.
Our customer reviews
Ten Things I've Learnt About Love is so far out of my comfort zone that I had to take a train back, but it was definitely worth the trip. It is a soft, nostalgic story about a woman who is a bit lost but more importantly, who doesn't want to be found. As the youngest of three daughters, Alice has a hard time finding her place in her own family. She also has a hard time staying in one place; she is a wanderer, restless by nature. It doesn't take long for her to start feeling trapped so she travels the world to avoid it. It is a lonely life Alice leads. Unable to create real emotional attachments, or rather prone to denying those she has created, she is a lone island surrounded by people she should be closest to. After spending six months in Mongolia, running from a dysfunctional family, a relationship that made her feel aimless and trapped, she receives the news that her father is dying and returns home. Daniel is Alice's real father. He is homeless, a different type of wanderer, but a wanderer nevertheless. He is, in part, homeless by choice; the life without attachments suits him. He refuses to leave the city, though, because that's where he thinks Alice is, although he knows very little about her. For her part, Alice doesn't even know that the doctor dying in their family home isn't her real father. He was her mother's husband, father of her two sisters, and he raised her as his own, even after her mother died. It wasn't always easy being inside the head of someone so detached. In lack of her emotional responses, I'd try to assume what she would feel in any given situation and quickly become frustrated when Alice remained unchanged by this new experience. At least on the surface. There were some complicated feelings underneath, but she never reacted as one would expect. It takes a lot for me to pick up a realistic novel, and even more if it's literary fiction, but I rarely regret it in the end. That is the case with Ten Things I've Learnt About Love. I loved the change, the maturity of it, I loved that it didn't have a messy beginning and a clean ending. I loved the asymmetry of it, the nostalgia that poured out of every page. I loved that it was a quiet read, never melodramatic, complicated and yet so very simple at the same time. It made me want to step out of my comfort zone more often because I always come back a different, if not better person, and really, what more can one ask?show moreby Maja (The Nocturnal Library)