“A feeling of strong or constant affection for a person”. Such is the sublime concept of love defined; a feeling and outwardly manifested force that has been given and received by myriad folk through the ages, and is still in powerful existence throughout the world today.
It is love, in all it’s wonderful and poignant guises, that is forensically and searchingly “examined’ in Brisbane journalist and author, Trent Dalton’s, latest soaring book, “Love Stories”. Trent had the loftily beautiful, as well as searingly ambitious, idea to sit expectantly on the corner of Adelaide and Albert Streets in the Brisbane CBD, and nonchalantly ask folk walking by the transcendent and life-affirming question, “Can you please tell me a love story?”. The demonstrably breath-taking result is a devotedly and meticulously written document of love and it’s deserved place in this world – and not only the obvious form of romantic love.
As Denise, “a retired primary school teacher” succinctly observes, “I guess anyone passing up and down this street has a story”.
Fe, a retired “dementia and palliative care” nurse, tells Trent of a female dementia patient whose husband faithfully and dutifully visited his ‘lost’ wife on a daily basis, despite the patient not knowing her husband in any way (“True love personified” Trent writes that Fe said). The obliging husband questioned whether it was even worth visiting his wife, but Fe encouraged him to persist as “You come because you know your story together and that story is still strong”.
Another poignant, yet ultimately uplifting, tale is that of Jean-Benoit; a young man left under a tree in Rwanda as a baby, only to be adopted by a Belgian couple. Jean-Benoit soberly informs Trent that he relentlessly ‘tested’ his adoptive parents to see how much they loved him. Their magnanimous response was to love him “unconditionally”.
A young grief-stricken woman from Ecuador, Cynthia, humbly tells Trent that her beloved “Papito” (her grandfather) has recently passed away in Ecuador. She is cruelly heartbroken, as she has not been able to get back to South America to see her family, either before or since his passing. It is evident from her account of her Papito that she had a deep love for him. She has lovingly written her Papito a letter expressing her gratitude for him and his life, in which she told him “Thank you for everything you gave me. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for your love”. Cynthia stoically burnt the letter, as her Papito had already passed away. Optimistically, Cynthia informs Trent, “now I have decided I will remember him in every sunrise I see”.
Trent movingly ‘chats’ with an eclectic assortment of folk, all of whom are fervently motivated to share a significant and integral love story woven into their lives thus far.
I found “Love Stories” to be in turns captivating, enchanting, poignant and heartbreaking, yet ultimately defiantly uplifting. I recommend this book for anyone wanting to be taken on a brave and noble journey through one of this life’s greatest treasures that is hopefully readily available to all – the alluring concept of love.