A journey with the novels that shape our emotions, our romances, and ourselves
Part memoir, part imagined history, this unique personal essay depicts the intimate experience of childhood bereavement, lost love affairs, and the complicated realities of motherhood and marriage. Framed by an extended train journey, author Sophie Ratcliffe turns to the novels, novelists, and heroines who have shaped her emotional and romantic landscapes. She transports us with her to survey the messiness of everyday life, all while reflecting on steam propulsion and pop songs, handbags and honeymoons, Anna Karenina and Anthony Trollope, former lovers and forgotten muses. Frank, funny, tender, and transporting, Loss, A Love Story asks why we fall in, and out, of love—and how we might understand doing so amid the ongoing upheavals and unwritten futures of the twenty-first century.
Note Departures Hull to Ferriby St Petersburg to Moscow Hackney Wick Station Ferriby to Brough St Petersburg to Moscow Hackney Wick Station Battery Place to Cortlandt Street Brough to Goole Hackney Wick Station West Finchley to Belsize Park Baker Street to Moorgate Street St Petersburg Station Hackney Wick Station Goole to Thorne North Hackney Wick Station Thorne North to Doncaster Oxford Station Moscow to St Petersburg Sheffield to Birmingham New Street Bologoye Station Ghost Train Finchley Central to Burnt Oak Chalk Farm to Belsize Park Birmingham New Street to Leamington Spa Elephant and Castle Station Paddington Station Euston to Inverness Carnforth Station Tenway Junction Grand Central to Utah Leamington to Banbury Banbury Station Oxford Station Sources of Quotations Further Reading and Sources Acknowledgments
SOPHIE RATCLIFFE is professor of literature and creative criticism at the University of Oxford and a fellow and tutor at Lady Margaret Hall. In addition to her scholarly books, including On Sympathy, she has published commentary pieces and book reviews for the Guardian, the New Statesman, and the Times Literary Supplement, among other outlets, and has served a judge for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction and the Wellcome Book Prize. She is married and has two children.
“With this voyage into grief, longing, eros, and art, Sophie Ratcliffe offers us an intimate, beautifully curated exhibit of history, imagination, revelation, and consolation.” —Margo Jefferson, author of Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir
“A book as much about time and technology as it is about love and grief, Loss, A Love Story is a feat of personal narrative. Sophie Ratcliffe crosses genre borders and traverses boundaries, both imagined and real, reminding us with each movement that a lived life is less a framed photograph than it is a moving train, ferrying us forward in space while also pulling us back in time. This book swept me away.” —Sarah Viren, author of To Name the Bigger Lie: A Memoir in Two Stories
“Sophie Ratcliffe brings a breathtaking honesty and a cool precision to her imaginative meditation on the lessons of Anna Karenina—it is a true tour de force which is both moving and exhilarating to read.” —Rosamund Bartlett, author of Tolstoy: A Life
Learn more about upcoming publications, events, and news from Northwestern University Press.