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The Behaviour of Love Reviews

The Behaviour of Love by Virginia Reeves

The Behaviour of Love

Virginia Reeves

4.20 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Scribner UK
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publication date: 30 May 2019
ISBN: 9781471171949

The brilliant new novel from the author of Work Like Any Other, longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize

3 stars out of 5
30 Jul 2019

"A novel of 1970s marriage, whisky and social conditioning"

The surface of the book is beautifully crafted and the tensions in the initial love triangle are handled with microscopic attention – both of which nicely propel the plot. But Reeves’s central theme of behaviourism is sometimes stretched a little thin. That Ed’s training as a psychologist underpins his wider credo – that “people are malleable, as are their behaviors” – makes complete sense. Yet, when he reflects, out drinking with local politicians, that he is engaged, Pavlov-like, in “conditioning” them to associate future legislative favours with the feeling of the whisky in their bellies at that moment, this seems rather forced. 

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
Mark Lawson
27 Jul 2019

"The tale of a US psychologist in 1970s Montana vividly captures the unpredictability of attraction "

Novels about relationships are themselves a form of behavioural psychology, and Reeves’s notes on the body and soul of a fictional practitioner of the discipline are a remarkable case study in the unpredictability and tenacity of attraction. While Cohen may be right about there being no cure for love, The Behaviour of Love has contributed a fresh and memorable addition to the literature on the condition.

5 stars out of 5
23 May 2019

"a superb writer, moving with crisp, swift strokes"

Virginia Reeves was deservedly longlisted for the Man Booker Prize with her 2016 debut, Work Like Any Other, about a black farmhand forced to shoulder the blame for his white boss after a fatal accident in Twenties Alabama.... Reeves’s theme — as in her debut — is the limits of forgiveness. She’s a superb writer, moving with crisp, swift strokes over the thorny question of how far people ever change.