Because it is almost that time of year (Valentine’s Day!), who better than to share his thoughts on love than Douglas Kennedy—author of nine previous novels, including the international bestseller Leaving the World. Kennedy was recently the keynote speaker at the American Library Association Conference. Below is a choice excerpt from his 8 AM speech:
“I want to talk today about one of the biggest conundrums that we face during our lifetime – perhaps the largest difficulty we grapple with as sentient beings. It’s the thing we long for the most and, as such, also so frequently vexes and disappoints us.
Of course, what I am speaking about is: love.
Now I must begin by saying that discussing love at eight in the morning is hardly something I usually do. Rather, this is a subject best suited for a low-lit cocktail bar around ten at night, just after the third Manhattan or Gin Martini has been ordered, and the pianist is tinkling ‘My Baby Don’t Care About Me’ on the ivories, and a sort of sad ‘nostalgie’ has descended on the surroundings.
But here we are today discussing love at eight am – an hour when the only people in the world considering this subject are couples newly in love and sharing a post-coital breakfast together, or all those embittered, wounded, grieving souls sitting in a therapist’s office (been there, done that), venting on about why it all has gone so dreadfully wrong…
Now if I was to go around this room I am certain I would hear story after story about disappointment in love. The person who was so right for you but got away. The love you showered on someone who never reciprocated it. The love that soured and atrophied. The love that you dodged.
And if there is one thing I know about the human condition it is this: the biggest argument in life is the one that you have with yourself. As such a larger question arises: do we really believe that we merit happiness? When it comes our way, do we often find ways of sidestepping it?
My new novel, THE MOMENT , grapples with these large questions, but also with another profoundly difficult subject: the loss of true love.”
Whew! To read the full speech (and you should), click here.
Atria will publish THE MOMENT (9781439180792) on May 3, 2011. The novel centers around Thomas Nesbitt—a divorced, middle-aged American writer living a private life in rural Maine. He is confronted by his past when he receives a package postmarked Berlin and from “Dussman”—the name of the woman with whom he had an intense love affair twenty-six years ago in Berlin during the height of the Cold War.