Lost Properties of Love
Sophie Ratcliffe, Read by Amy Shindler

Book cover image

Narrated By: Amy Shindler

Duration: 6 hours and 31 minutes

What to expect

What if you could tell the truth about who you are, without risking losing the one you love? This is a book about love affairs and why we choose to have them; a book for anyone who has ever loved and wondered what it is all about.

This is a book about the things we hide from other people. Love affairs, grief, domestic strife and the mess at the bottom of your handbag. Part memoir, part imagined history, in The Lost Properties of Love, Sophie Ratcliffe combines her own experience of childhood bereavement, a past lover, the reality about motherhood and marriage, with undiscovered stories about Tolstoy and trains, handbags and honeymoons to muse on the messiness of everyday life.

An extended train journey frames the action – and the author turns not to self-help manuals but to the fictions that have shaped our emotional and romantic landscape. Readers will find themselves propelled into Anna Karenina’s world of steam, commuting down the Northern Line, and checking out a New York El-train with Anthony Trollope’s forgotten muse, Kate Field.

As scenes in her own life collide with the stories of real and imaginary heroines, The Lost Properties of Love asks how we might find new ways of thinking about love and intimacy in the twenty-first century. Frank and painfully funny, this contemporary take on Brief Encounter – told to a backing track of classic 80s songs- is a compelling look at the workings of the human heart.

Genre

Biography & non-fiction prose, Memoirs

Listen to a sample

‘An ingeniously constructed tribute to messy relationships’ Prospect Magazine, Best Biographies and Memoirs of 2019

‘Booksellers needn't fret about where to shelve this limpid, funny, haunting meditation on love, loss and parenting: just put it on your best tables and watch it fly’ Patrick Gale

‘Magnificent… The Lost Properties of Love is glorious on the journeys of life, love and loss, stirringly intimate, deeply painful, occasionally hilarious. It deserves to do brilliantly.’ Philippe Sands, author of East West Street

‘Deeply moving … Sophie Ratcliffe has rummaged in her heart and produced a memoir of books, trains, love and grief. If you have ever lost an umbrella, an earring or someone close to you, you have found your book.’ Andy Miller, author of The Year of Reading Dangerously 

‘A mesmerising book about the messiness of life, love and marriage, and the pain of losing the one you love … raw, truthful, witty and occasionally sublime.’  Paula Byrne, bestselling author of The Real Jane Austen

‘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 and the translator of Anna Karenina

‘A lovely, intricate book and devastatingly honest. I think every truthful person will find themselves mirrored here.’ Craig Raine

'Wonderful and highly individual … The pages crackle with her cleverness and she has a genius for concision … Witty and original, but also human.' Spectator

‘A compelling and very honest book. At times it made me think of Tracey Emin’s bed! So many of the details and detritus of a life arranged in a work of art.’ Neil Tennant musician and co-founder of the Pet Shop Boys

‘An intricate, fiercely intelligent memoir.’ Observer