The Book of Love: A Novel (Hardcover)
February 2024 Indie Next List
“What can’t Kelly Link do? Seriously, this novel blew me away. It is brimming with magic and surrealism and weirdness (in true Kelly Link fashion), as well as the most heartfelt warmth and intimacy and sincerity. 10s across the board.”
— Amali Gordon-Buxbaum, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY
“A heart-wrenching exploration of love and loss.”—Time
"A dreamlike, profoundly beautiful novel [that] pushes our understanding of what a fantasy novel can be.”—Amal El-Mohtar, The New York Times Book Review
The Book of Love showcases Kelly Link at the height of her powers, channeling potent magic and attuned to all varieties of love—from friendship to romance to abiding family ties—with her trademark compassion, wit, and literary derring-do. Readers will find joy (and a little terror) and an affirmation that love goes on, even when we cannot.
Late one night, Laura, Daniel, and Mo find themselves beneath the fluorescent lights of a high school classroom, almost a year after disappearing from their hometown, the small seaside community of Lovesend, Massachusetts, having long been presumed dead. Which, in fact, they are.
With them in the room is their previously unremarkable high school music teacher, who seems to know something about their disappearance—and what has brought them back again. Desperate to reclaim their lives, the three agree to the terms of the bargain their music teacher proposes. They will be given a series of magical tasks; while they undertake them, they may return to their families and friends, but they can tell no one where they’ve been. In the end, there will be winners and there will be losers.
But their resurrection has attracted the notice of other supernatural figures, all with their own agendas. As Laura, Daniel, and Mo grapple with the pieces of the lives they left behind, and Laura’s sister, Susannah, attempts to reconcile what she remembers with what she fears, these mysterious others begin to arrive, engulfing their community in danger and chaos, and it becomes imperative that the teens solve the mystery of their deaths to avert a looming disaster.
Welcome to Kelly Link’s incomparable Lovesend, where you’ll encounter love and loss, laughter and dread, magic and karaoke, and some really good pizza.
“By turns playful and harrowing, surreal and sagacious, replete with gods and other monsters, The Book of Love is an astonishing, gorgeous novel written with Link’s unique wit, warmth and ability to get under your skin.”—Holly Black, author of Book of Night
“A supernatural story about love in all its guises bewitches. . . . The places of this novel are both glitteringly strange and so fully realized that one feels one might visit them tomorrow.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“The Book of Love does justice to its name. Its composition, its copiousness, suggests that love, in the end, contains all—that frustration, rage, vulnerability, loss and grief are love’s constituent parts, bound by and into it.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[Link's]. . . . writing sparkles with wit and colour, and there is much camp weirdness and shimmering grandeur.”—The Spectator (UK)
“The wonders of Hollywood special effects feel like garish imitations next to Link’s sorcery.”—The Washington Post
“. . . if you are, possibly, a cynic looking for something to give you some renewed faith in love/friendship/literature in this month of cold and candy hearts, and/or find yourself wishing for a little more magic in your life, this is the novel for you. It’s even red.”—Lit Hub
“A dizzying dream ride you will never forget.”—Leigh Bardugo, author of Ninth House
“Haunting, immersive, and at times surpassingly beautiful.”—Locus
“This is one of those books that cuts your life in two: before you read it, and after.”—Alix E. Harrow, author of Starling House
“A giant, glorious novel about friendship, love, queerness, rock-and-roll, stardom, parenthood, loyalty, lust and duty.”—Cory Doctorow, author of The Lost Cause
“The Book of Love is a luxurious, bewitching novel of exceptional beauty and power.”—Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House
“Pure enchantment—a tale of love, death, magic and teenagers being teenagers, rich with fairy strangeness and told in sentences like jewels strung on a chain.”—Zen Cho, author of Black Water Sister
“Pulitzer finalist Link makes a dazzling full-length debut that proves her gloriously idiosyncratic style shines just as brightly at scale. . . . This is a masterpiece.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A moving and deft exploration of the many ways ‘love goes on even when we cannot.’”—Booklist (starred review)
“An absolute feast of a story, ushering the reader along a path that is always sublime, often hilarious, and at every single point rammed full of heart and truth.”—Melinda Salisbury, author of Her Dark Wings