A literature lecturer, and bachelor, stuck in the academic lifestyle faces the crisis of his adult life. Gregory copes with the experience of the modern technology of instant messaging in a romantic love with Lucy, a female colleague. Traumatized from the excitement of a passionate love, it does not cool down fast enough for Gregory with the virtue technology. Unhappy of being unsure of what his male-female relationship is, friendship or romantic relationship, Gregory embarks in a study of stalking or unrequited love.
His complete analysis of his relationship is corrupted by his need to seek acceptance in the form of advice from others. As he listens to their advice that he is a victim of stalking, he takes the non-defensive approach of recognizing aspects of his own behavior in the relationship. The woman in question is relational aggressive which conjures up Gregory's hyper references to media such as in the fictional movie Fatal Attraction.
As Gregory delves in the controversial issue he makes the decision to not reply Lucy's e-mails and, yet, knowing that silence in itself could possibly provoke Lucy in the anticipation of his response. Lucy seemingly shares his choice of estrangement perhaps from the lack of Gregory's affection and attention. At this stage, Lucy's alleged female friend comes to Gregory with a message of estrangement from Lucy. Gregory accepts this message without a doubt that it comes from Lucy and stops contacting Lucy.
With Lucy no longer in his life, Gregory finds himself in a crisis of isolation. His need for intimacy is challenged by the fact that he wants a woman to love all of his ego in order to believe that it is the real him that she loves. During his research he obsesses over Charlotte, a new love object he meets at his local gym.
Our main character is deeply disgruntle with the need for a heterosexual relationship to the point of calling sex in itself a sin. Regardless of his distaste for sexuality, he finds himself to identify with the concept of stalking as an alternative to a rigid, safe and common courtship set to standard by popularity, ethics and religion. (It is fair to mention that he does state a non-belief in the existence in God, but does not inform the reader any direct part of his relationship with God, but has a tendency to see namesakes of Saints.)
The first part of the book moves the character forward from the fear factor of his relationship to denial that they were both in love. The narrator describes his loss of interest with Lucy in which the book vacillates whether or not he was in a relationship at all. In this denial, he takes a course of action as any honorable scholar would: he dedicates the second phase of the book to a brief study on a few writers whom have made affirmations on the definition, characterization and historical accounts of love. His research is continuous throughout the book. (Yet, he fails to recognize that the consideration for medical treatment to cure erotic love is well known by the work of psychologist Dorothy Tennov. The term Limerence is not found in the book at all.)
Gregory's various revelations to the reader of psychoanalysis suggestively reveals his devotion to the experience of strolling in his home town in London as congruent with an erotic unmentionable. At the end of having experience, Gregory's descriptive passage of sensations, his thoughts call out the name a woman. Which woman? You need to read the book to find that out.
This is a very entertaining, aesthetic and educating book, especially because of very picturesque descriptions of London and ease to read. The author does not offer a preface to this edition which makes it difficult to believe whether the book is a memoir or if it an elaborate work of fiction. This is perhaps an epic drama, nonetheless.
(Case Study Note: This book is set in the first decade of the millennium, it is good to note that Gregory is a male heterosexual of Generation X, born in the early 1970s in English-speaking western civilization, middle class and perhaps a child of baby boomer parents of which were adolescence in the counter-sexual-revolution.)