Selfish or Selfless Love?

Posted: February 6, 2009 in books / poems / articles

I stumbled upon this book in tikayiyay site entitled “is love selfish or selfless?”. –wondering about the nature of love in Norwegian Wood and The Reunion.

Now, I am again on a hunt for my next book. I already read Norwegian Wood and my copy of The Confessions of Max Tivoli will arrive by next week (yey!!! thanks to Ate Macky!)

Next on the list is The Reunion by Alan Lightman.

*****

In crystalline prose at once precise and mysterious, Reunion explores the pain of self-examination, the clay-like nature of memory, and the impossible hopefulness of youth.

Charles is a middle-aged professor at a minor liberal-arts college, a once promising poet, admiring of passion but without passion himself. Without knowing why, he decides to attend his thirtieth college reunion. And there, he magically witnesses a replay of his senior year.

Drawn back into his memories, Charles watches his tender and romantic twenty-two-year-old self embark on an all-consuming love affair with a beautiful dancer. As the two young people struggle to find themselves amidst the social and political chaos of late 1960s, the older Charles recalls contradictory versions of his past, ultimately confronting for the second time a series of devastating events that would forever change his life.

Excerpt:

Unconditional love. That’s what he wants to give her and what he wants from her. People should give without wanting anything in return. All other giving is selfish. But he is being selfish a little, isn’t he, by wanting her to love him in return? He hopes that she loves him in return. Is it possible for a person to love without wanting love back? Is anything so pure? Or is love, by its nature, a reciprocity, like oceans and clouds, an evaporating of seawater and a replenishing of rain?

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