The Lemon Table by Julian Barnes
"Like most of his life's writing, the play was concerned with love. And as in his life, so in his writing: love did not work. Love might or might not provoke kindness, gratify vanity, and clear the skin, but it did not lead to happiness; there was always an inequality of feeling or intention present. Such was love's nature. Of course, it 'worked' in the sense that it caused life's profoundest emotions, made him fresh as spring's linden-blossom and broke him like a traitor on a wheel. It stirred him from well-mannered timidity to relative boldness, one tragicomically incapable of action. It taught him the gulping folly of anticipation, the wretchedness of failure, the whine of regret, and the silly fondness of remembrance. He knew love well. He also knew himself well".