Title: Amour: How the French Talk About Love
Author: Stefania Rousselle
Publisher: Viking, Penguin Random House UK
Genre: Photo Essays, Photojournalism
How does one find love? How does one sustain that love? How does it feel to listen to sad love songs and pine and long for someone, day after day? I was eighteen once. I loved once with a mad passion. I still do. Though I am scared and afraid of getting hurt, love doesn’t know that though. It washes over me like a tide, and that’s the end of it all. Even before it has begun.
We love like moth to a flame; till the time we crash and burn. We love and we don’t even know how or when or why. We love because sometimes that’s the only thing to do. Love someone with all our might and strength. Love is what makes the world go around, isn’t it? Love is also not many a splendored thing, because it has the capacity to break you, and yet again it repairs you without you knowing.
Stefania Rousselle had almost stopped believing in love. She is an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker, covering the bleakest of assignments – from terrorist attacks to the rise of the right. This led her to travelling around France asking strangers the one good old question that we all try to answer: What is love?
The result of those interactions is “Amour – How the French Talk about Love”, a book of photographs, memories, and a book that tries hard to make sense of love and what goes and comes with it. Amour is a book about regular people – bakers, painters, plumbers, irrespective of professions, speaking of love and what it did to them or continues to do to them. It is a book about lost opportunities, to lovers that were better left alone, to marriages that crumble and yet you stay, and also about love and its mysteries that just cannot be solved.
Whether it is about a gay couple who have just started life, or someone who misses his wife so badly that he just cannot fathom living again, to someone who hadn’t kissed till he was twenty-five, to a lady who escaped an abusive relationship and is still waiting on love, all these stories are hopeful, broken, and yet all we all need is love to soldier on. To make us believe in the idea of forever.
Amour as a book made me think about my loves and my relationships. Relationships with my parents, my lovers, friends, and the ones that didn’t culminate to anything. Love is like that; it just has to be given its space for anything to happen. I am not like that though. I learn every day.
Amour: How the French Talk About Love shows you how love is so universal that it also hurts that way when you read about other people’s experiences. You cry a little. You smile. You cheer. You also want to reach out to them and let them know it will be okay, and love will find a way to them, one way or another.
Starting this month, I have decided to include a playlist at the end of each review – songs I listened to while reading the book.
Here’s the playlist for Amour:
- Shayad from the movie Love Aaj Kal 2
- Love of My Life by Queen
- Aaye Kuch Abr by Atif Aslam (Coke Studio)
- Aapki Ankhon Main Kuch from the movie Ghar
- Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell
- This Year’s Love by David Gray
- Last Party by MIKA
- Ae Ajnabi from Dil Se
- Crying by k.d. lang and Roy Orbison
- Your Whatever
- Pyar Hua Chupke Se by 1942: A Love Story
- Kithe Nain by Aabha Hanjura
- Maahi Ve from the movie Highway
- Chaand Chahiye by Ankur Tewari
- Walkin’ After Midnight
- Friday I’m in Love
- Be My Baby
- We all Sleep Alone by Cher
- I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston
- Raabta from Agent Vinod
- Secrets by Collabro
- 101010 by Sleeping at Last
- Don’t Give Up On Us by Sarah McLachlan
- Mujhse Pehli Si Mohabbat by Noor Jehan
- Musafir from Jagga Jasoos
- Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen
- Ek Chaand (from LOEV)