The modern world is richer, safer and more connected than ever before but it is – arguably – also a far less loving world than we need or want: impatience, self-righteousness, moralism and viciousness are rife, while forgiveness, tolerance and sympathetic good humour can be in short supply.
This is a book that rallies us to remember how much we all long for, and depend on love: how much we need people to forgive us for our errors, how much everyone deserves to be treated with consideration and imagination and how being truly civilised means extending patience and kindness to all those we have to deal with, even, and especially, those who don’t naturally appeal to us.
With the right encouragement, all of us are capable of immense kindness. But without it, we can also quickly descend into something far darker. This book reminds us of our better natures and mobilises us to fight for the kinder, more loving world we essentially long for at heart.
Throughout, it frames love not as a romantic, idealistic fantasy, but as a hugely serious and dignified force that can save us from meanness and strife, defend us against chaos – and usher in hope and courage.