What if the whole of your life you were searching, struggling to find your place in the world?
As the youngest of three daughters, Alice is approaching her thirtieth birthday, but has yet to find her unique connections to the world and to others. She doesn’t mesh with her older sisters, who seem to look upon her as the black sheep. She can feel their criticism whenever they look at her, and they question her choices. Her relationship with Kal has also failed, yet a part of her wants to reconnect with him.
Meanwhile, she has come home to London, to the house near Hampstead Heath, because their father is dying. By the time she gets there, from Mongolia, he is very near the end. She doesn’t feel like she belongs here, and she restlessly longs to be away again. When she sits with her father, she feels as though she needs to ask him something. But does not.
Daniel is a man without a conventional home who has memories of a time and a love, and is now on a quest to find someone. Does he hope to find a place in the world too? Despite his apparent rootlessness, he sees the beauty in the world around him, and remembers love in all its wonder.
Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love is narrated alternately in the first person voices of Alice and Daniel, and as we watch them seemingly coming to a place of connecting, we also see Alice coping with clearing out her father’s house after his death, taking on most of the responsibility because she has been gone so much.
Why is someone leaving little gifts for her on the wall by the front door? Is the man named Daniel someone she has known? Is he trying to tell her something?
We are left with more questions than answers, although, at the end, there is a sense that Alice has come to some kind of decision about her life, and Daniel seems to have decided something as well. This is a story about love, loss, and finding connections, but it is also a story that reveals our connections to the places where we live and to the past we have left behind. A lovely and poignant tale that made me feel both sad and hopeful. I had wished for more closure for the characters, and then I realized that we can almost write our own ending. 4.5 stars.