An actually edifying reading experience, not to moralize on this of all topics, because Phillips certainly doesn't: Monogamy is a profound book about a mandate that is a source of pain and confusion as well as its supposed fix. No truisms or preciosity; no prescription or proscription. If you're the type to take notes as you read, you may accidentally end up recopying this entire book.
In this sparkling, provocative collection of meditations on coupledom and its discontents, Adam Phillips manages to unsettle one of our most dearly held ideals, that of the monogamous couple, by speculating upon the impulses that most threaten it--boredom, desire, and the tempting idea that erotic fulfillment might lie elsewhere. With 121 brilliant aphorisms, the witty, erudite psychoanalyst who gave us On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored distills the urgent questions and knotty paradoxes behind our mating impulse, and reveals the centrality of monogamy to our notions of marriage, family, the self--in fact, to everything that matters.
The only truly monogamous relationship is the one we have with ourselves. Every marriage is a blind date that makes you wonder what the alternatives are to a blind date. There's nothing more scandalous than a happy marriage.
About the Author
Adam Phillips is the author of Winnicott; On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored; On Flirtation; and Terror and Experts. Formerly the principal child psychotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital in London, he lives in England.
"Wonderful . . . Phillips's great gift as a writer is for aphorism and paradox, and that is the joy of Monogamy." --Esquire
"Adam Phillips writes with far-sighted equanimity. . . . In this regard, he's a little like an Oliver Sacks of psychoanalysis, both affable and unalarmed." --The Boston Globe
"Phillips's reflections on monogamy are both discomforting and comforting." --The Washington Post Book World
"Playful, brilliant . . . profound . . . keeps us faithful to the last page."--The New York Observer