We had run out of small talk. The old rowboat held us up, kept us dry, soothed and dissolved, in its slow revolutions, Tess’s fear of the water and my misgivings …
So begins One Who Loves, a novel about the extraordinary conflicts that impinge on seemingly ordinary lives. Liz—passionate but reserved—takes us on her journey as she grapples with crises of love, loyalty, and the inexorable pull of sexual attraction.
Liz and Patrick. Tess and Jon. They meet at a University of Michigan co-op and quickly form a quartet “prickly with emotion, a zesty compote of lust, jealousy, and friendship.” Their relationship endures over the years—often strained by Liz’s desire for Jon, as well as Tess’s willful exploits and free-spirited lifestyle.
How does it feel to love a man who belongs to another—and that ‘other’ your closest friend? Where does loyalty end and self-interest begin? What do you do when you are asked, in the name of friendship, to tamper with life and death?
One Who Loves is a thoughtful, and thought-provoking, exploration of friendship, love, and compassion.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
One of the many pleasures of One Who Loves is the writing itself — as lyrical and precise as poetry, richly detailed and beautifully textured — and another is the vividness and complexity of the characters — how they come to life on the page, with all their passions and all their flaws, with their complicated inner lives and their complicated relationships to one another. One Who Loves follows the long friendship of two couples, intertwined from their university days in the counter-culture of the early 1970’s through middle-age in the late 1990’s, together through almost every kind of heartache and trauma and joy. At the story’s center, the dazzling and confounding Tess reminds those who love her, and those she loves, that those who take the great risk of love are those who live most deeply and fully; she reminds us, too, that we find our only true home in one another. The authenticity of the details of these lives is what shines hardest, in the end, and that love.
The author took us on an intimate look at a group of people brought together by chance , but creating a life together . The folks are different but learn to care greatly for each other despite (or perhaps because of) their differences . Delightful and thoughtful work. Thank you.
Between the opening Somerset Maughm quote, “There is always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved,” and the end of the first scene, “Does any of it matter, now that it’s over?” lies the story of two couples and the fluctuating passions that bind them for a lifetime. The core love story is Liz’s, the dominant character often Tess, and together with the men they love. Liz’s quiet love is no match for the electric Tess, who magnetizes and energizes all around her and marries Jon, the man Liz will love first and last throughout her life. The depth of Liz’s pain colors her life but doesn’t destroy the love she bears Tess. She marries Patrick, who adores her and thus becomes the stormy nexus of the one loved and the lover. The waves of love, jealousy, lust, and anger that flow between the four, rather than destroying the friendship seem to bond the two couples, so that it becomes the story of the many different forms of love that sustain us. Though we feel Liz’s struggles most intensely, the drafts of similar conflicts emit from each of the others. The novel’s power lies in the grace and delicacy of Toni Fuhrman’s prose as she traces the shifting balance of love and being loved through their lives.