Louise lost her mother at a very young age. She is now in her twenties and is in search for the man who she believes to be responsible for her mother’s death.
Nicholas and Louise’s mother met during the 80s when they worked together at a school. Also working there was Lydia’s husband, who is a bit socially awkward but is very much enamored with his wife. Lydia and Nicholas soon embark on an affair that completely engulfs the two of them and threatens to destroy those around them.
Eventually the two must make a decision as to whether they forge ahead as a couple and leave their respective families or cut ties completely and move on. Neither choice is optimal and the two are at a loss as to what to do.
Years later, Louise adopts her mother’s name and starts trying to infiltrate Nicholas’s life. She holds him completely responsible for the death of her mother, and as such, she abhors him. As she gets deeper and deeper though, she begins to understand that circumstances are not as cut and dry as she had assumed.
The Art of Losing was absolutely fantastic. Adultery is such a tough pill to swallow, and Connell was able to show that. It was easy at first to judge Nicholas and Lydia but as their affair wore on, they became almost helpless, and probably just as miserable as their respective partners. While that certainly doesn’t absolve them of their actions, it made them human.
Likewise, Louise was quick to judge Nicholas but she started to realize that the relationship between her parents and the separate relationships they had were unknown to her in the way that those relationships are between parents and children.
A good book is one that makes you think long after you put it down. The Art of Losing gave me a lot to digest and the character and their actions were such that I could never completely “choose” a side.
The Art of Losing will certainly make it to my Best of list for 2011. It counts towards the Europa Challenge.
I purchased this book from Barnes & Noble.