The Love of My Youth by Mary Gordon

The Love of My YouthThirty-six years ago, Miranda and Adam were in love. Adam, an introspective musician, and Miranda, a raucous and outgoing young woman embracing a new era of women’s rights, somehow fit together perfectly. They took joy in each other and looked forward to spending the rest of their lives together.

Alas, this perfect love affair turned out to be not so perfect. In an irreversible moment to be regretted forever, Adam loses his future with Miranda. The two go their separate ways, marrying others and raising families until one day more than three decades later, a mutual friend brings them back together in Rome — a city where Miranda and Adam once spent a magical summer.

Because they will both be spending a month in Rome — she with her job, he with his daughter — they decide to see Rome together, taking walks each morning and spending time in all the special places Adam knows about. As they take their walks, they reminisce about the past, share evolving and differing philosophies about life, and consider what might have been. Their talks reveal much about who they have become and why, and consider those roads taken and those left behind. As they are nearing old age, they ponder the meaning of their lives present and past. Were their lives, like the epitaph they discovered on John Keats’ tombstone, “writ on the water?”

Full of reflection, grace, sexual tension, regret, and finally reconciliation, this novel will have its readers discussing how our lives are shaped by past events and the decisions we make as we navigate a world filled with choices.

Pantheon Books/Random House; ISBN 978-0-30737-742-5; $24.95.
The Love of My Youth: Reader's Guide

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