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The Conditions of Love

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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  434 ratings  ·  112 reviews
Dale M. Kushner's novel The Conditions of Love traces the journey of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she reckons with her parents' abandonment, her need to break from society's limitations, and her overwhelming desire for spiritual and erotic love. In 1953, ten-year-old Eunice lives in the backwaters of Wisconsin with her outrageously narcissistic mother, a ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Grand Central Publishing (first published May 2nd 2013)
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Danielle Dresden I think this would be a great book for a couple to read together. It deals with different kinds of love (love for a parent, love for a mentor, love…moreI think this would be a great book for a couple to read together. It deals with different kinds of love (love for a parent, love for a mentor, love for a partner, etc) -- well, life, really -- in a deep and delightful way.(less)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  434 ratings  ·  112 reviews


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Red Reader
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Kushner's debut novel (hard to believe it is her first) is a memorable masterpiece. When I finished reading it, I did not want to write a Goodreads review, I wanted to re-read it. My first read was fast, as I was totally engrossed in the characters and the plot. I could not wait to see how this unstoppable and engaging heroine would experience the unfolding of her not so conventional life. But the second read was slower, in order to savor the beautiful and moving language, that has been ...more
L. A.
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in three distinct sections, The Conditions of Love is a must read for anyone who wishes to experience a whole new way to look at various stages of love. Through lead character Eunice, readers are introduced to Mern, her eccentric mother, Rose, a mysterious shaman-like woman of the woods, and Fox, a man who presents Eunice with passionate challenges.
Set in the 1950s in a rural setting, the universal highs and lows of love shine through as the reader resonates with Eunice's experiences
...more
Marie
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Conditions of Love, by Dale M. Kushner is one of those "I cant go on to another book yet, the characters and story are still dancing in my head" kind of book.

The story line is so unique, the characters come to life each with their own upbringing history as the writing spins this tale of CONDITIONS OF LOVE. Dale M. Kushner's writing is so descriptive and flows smoothly throughout this book.

The main character is Eunice, a child who grew up living with her mother Mern a selfish mom needing
...more
John Rastey
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
This book is stellar, and it is probably the best novel I have read in many years. I read it through in one sitting, because I could not put it down. If you want a book with unforgettable characters you will care about deeply, painted in living color with language that is spot-on perfect, and a page turning plot, The Conditions of Love is the book for you. Though described as a coming of age novel, it is deeper and richer than that descriptor implies. It portrays all the layered complexities of ...more
Burku
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
The language is breathtakingly beautiful, and the words are still reverberating in my memory. I am sometimes astonished at how some writers can create dialogue that is so psychologically perfect on every line, has a melody and charm of its own, and fit them into a plot that keeps the reader wanting to keep turning the page. I was sorry to come to the end of the stunning book. I wanted to live with these characters and Kushner's elegant prose far beyond the last page. This is a debut novel; I am ...more
Maureen
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. It is an incredible experience reading a fine novel penned by a gifted poet...lush and yummy. The superb writing felt like a feast - with the added bonus that I never got too full; I got to read and re-read exquisitely descriptive lines like "Her hair was sleep-pasted against the back of her head; something womanly in her was going unused." Thank you for the sumptuous banquet, Dale Kushner!
Beret
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would give it 10 stars if I could. Long time that I cried while reading a book.
Susan
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a "book hangover" book. I was so hung up in this book I couldn't move on.........read, and reread.
Annette (booknerderie)
Review to come. But until then....wow. Let me process the enormity of all I've read. This is one helluva journey. What a wonderful debut novel!!!

*Thank you Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review*

The first thing that drew me to this book was the hand-lettering on the cover, it's so fluid and lovely. Then you have the parakeet perched on a home that's underwater, which leaves you wondering, "WHAT IN THE HECK IS THIS BOOK ABOUT!?" I'll tell you what it's about,
...more
Kirsten
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won this book through a giveaway on goodreads. It's a beautiful coming-of-age story about a girl and her experiences with love. It isn't simply romantic love, there are 3 distinct types of love in which the book reveals to you. It's beautifully written (and quite heartbreaking, too!)
Carol
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Conditions of Love is a coming of age story about Eunice, a different girl, whom was always an outsider. The story is divided into three parts,and three types of love, her childhood with her mother Mern and a wonderful elderly neighbor, Mr. Tabachnik. Eunice navigated through her childhood with a great deal of love and ability to find happiness in unusual places. The second part of the book is about how she was rescued from a flood in northern Wisconsin and raised for summer by Rose, an ...more
Jodi
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Conditions of Love is a masterpiece. I loved the writer's voice, the tone, the details, the poetry. I fell in love with the characters in all their eccentricities and mortal behaviors. Dale Kushner creates such deep, layered worlds in all three sections. I inhaled this book, reading it over three days. I love how the story is full of unique textures and nuance and grace. All I ever really want from art is to be changed by it, somehow. The Conditions of Love fulfilled the desire for my inner ...more
Michele
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Original ideas, beautifully written. Recommended to me by a fellow reader on Goodreads. I read it with the idea of reading it with my 12 year old, but this is NOT an appropriate book for a junior high school student. The experiences of the teenager are a little farfetched and a little beyond the age of the main character.
BurtonJay
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An absolutely astonishing book.
Delta
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a beautifully written book. Kushner manages to create a story that starts slow, swells into a captivating conflict, and then slowly return to a lower energy. It actually feels like riding a wave as you start to read a bit faster, hold your breath a bit longer, and then breathe a long sigh of relief. Some of the topics are difficult to read (both for their emotional impact and their slightly gory nature) but everything felt so genuine, as if this was an actual memoir. The only issue I had ...more
Colleen Hudson
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway-books
I'm very glad to have won this book from a Goodreads.com giveaway. It's not the normal type of book that I would have picked up but I was intrigued by the blurb on its page. I'm very thankful that I entered. Once I began to delve into the world of Eunice, I didn't want to come out until I had reached the very last page in order to know everything that I could.

The life of Eunice is broken into three parts or the three acts of love. Each one shows both us, the reader, and Eunice the perils and
...more
Anne Wolfe
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most unusual and gripping books I have read in some time. It's title might lead you to believe that it's in the chick lit category, but nothing could be further from the truth. Kushner's prose is so beautiful, it's not surprising to learn she is a poet.

It's the story of Eunice that begins in the 1950's. She is a young child living with her wacko mother in the first third of this book. A memorable neighbor names Mr. Tabachnick and her absent father also figure prominently, as
...more
Richard Goodwin
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the Coaster's 3/'57 hit "Searchin", writers Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller pursue the singer's determination to find his true love, wherever she may be - and even if he must resort to detective work. The song's particular gimmick was its reference to law-enforcement types from 50's pop culture, notably Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, Joe Friday, Sam Spade, Boston Blackie, Bulldog Drummond - even the Northwest Mounted Police!

Whether this figured in the inspiration for Dale Kushner's debut novel
...more
Tobias Strichten
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A perfect book that has it all. Kushner delivers to the reader the most unforgettable characters since Auntie Mame and Holden Caufield. You love them, laugh at and with them, and ache for their tribulations. The author's skill as a poet is evident. The canvas is large and beautifully drawn, and the language is picture-perfect. The plot carries you along at a non-stop page turning pace, such that I could not put the book down until I finished in one sitting. The book is about love, in all its ...more
Pamela
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My takeaway: Eunice gets the misfortunes of life over with in her youth, making her resilient, smart and prepared to seek and appreciate the gifts of love and good luck that find her as an adult. For true love to find you, one must be open, creating the right attitudes and "conditions" and her journey allows every reader to believe in that possibility.
My time and recommendations are well worth this excellent indulgence in deep, rewarding fiction reading.
Marla
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
At first I thought I wasn't going to like this book but as I got further along in the book I really enjoyed it. There was so many different adventures and emotions in this book that it was hard for me to put it down.
Becky
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
Goodreads giveaway I loved this book!
Karielle at Books à la Mode
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
I felt an enormous sadness shoot through my chest, and my eyes burned with tears. It frightened me how much I loved him; I wanted to call him back from wherever he was going, but in a rush of knowledge I realized my daddy was a tricky, dangerous man, and I could never trust his love.


I'm torn over how I feel about this book; on one hand, it indeed is a beautiful portrait of how love manifests in the life of Eunice, but on the other, it moves so lethargically, that oftentimes I found myself zoning
...more
Holly Madison
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews

The Conditions of Love is Dale M. Kushner’s first novel, but you would never know it by the way she writes. The way she describes her characters, her style and often profound little snippets of wisdom hidden throughout the story all make her a very unusual author – probably one of the most talented writers I have ever had the privilege to read.

Right from the beginning, I was drawn into The Conditions of Love by its unusual cover. The cover may look like random things tied together – a flood and
...more
Susan
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susan by: Received from NetGalley
Remarkable story of love, loss, and LIFE It is difficult to review Dale M. Kushner's The Conditions of Love without resorting to gushing hyperbole. This book is a staggering work of genius. It is the story of Eunice, from her childhood in Wild Pea, IL to her old age on a farm with her husband, Mr. Fox. That is the story. Abandoned by her father and raised by a lackluster mother, Eunice is swept away by a flood as a young teenager, rescued by a Rose, a mysterious woman with whom she lived for a ...more
Diane

The Conditions of Love, is a wonderful coming of age story which takes place in the 1950-60’s. The story begins in the little town of Wild Pea, Illinois, where young, Eunice lives with her self-centered, unpredictable, star-struck mother. Mern is a woman with her head in clouds, and obvious to the reader early on -- she’s just not “mother material”. Eunice must never call her mother “mom”, just Mern is acceptable. For Eunice life is lonely. She has few friends and although she has met her
...more
Sara
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in the mid-century, Midwestern US, this novel's young protagonist, Eunice, lives alone with her narcissistic, overbearing, Hollywood besotted mother Mern. It is clear from page one that Mern is not comfortable in the role of mother, and it is equally clear that young Eunice suffers from her mother's inexplicable mood changes. Like so many motherless daughters, Eunice seeks love wherever she can find it--from turtles, parrots, and elderly Mr. Tabachnik, who showers affectionate names on her, ...more
Denise
May 31, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads, arc
Wow...What an unusual book. It's a tough book to review. I thought it was beautifully written, but at times tough to read. It's a slower paced book, but it works. It's almost as if it was intentionally slow paced to allow the reader more time to soak up the writing.

It's the coming-of-age story of a girl named Eunice, who could definitely use some better parents. I've read so many reviews that said they loved Eunice's mother, Mern, but were disturbed by Eunice's relationship with an older man
...more
Erin
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Having recently read The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls, I imagined this as a more fictional and reflective account of the lives of those raised by mothers who were not ready for them. This was a believable and interesting story, if overly long.

I enjoyed the way the author divided Eunice's life - and experiences of love - into different chapters, although I expected more time to have passed between the sections of the book. I believe the author gave enough attention to Eunice's character that
...more
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Dale M. Kushner grew up in New Jersey and moved to the Midwest to study at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is a recipient of a Wisconsin Arts Board Grant in the Literary Arts and has been honored by a fellowship to the Wurlitzer Foundation, The Ragdale Foundation, and the Fetzer Institute as a participant of their first Writers’ Conference on Compassion and Forgiveness. Her work has been ...more