In this 'novel in essays', a brief romantic dalliance, a fizzle, is bookended by lengthy digital correspondence and speculative fretting and regret. Is this delusion or romance? Is this the blueprint of modern relationships? Has the balance between the actual and the virtual aspects of our lives altering to the point where it is becoming impossible to (actually) have a relationship with another (actual) person?
"A smart, allusive meditation on longing, on solitude, on the lure of cities and on the sheer fragility of experience and feeling." - Colm Toibin
"Reminiscent of Marcel Schwob, Clarice Lispector, Roland Barthes and Lydia Davis." - Paris Review
>> Read an excerpt.
The internet has collapsed the boundaries of time, space, and desire. However far apart lovers are, they can instantly be present. So can they ever really break up? This is the question Walsh's narrator must reckon with as she travels across Europe after the end of a love affair conducted largely online. This pilgrimage through 'offline' space dictated by chance - on railways, on buses, on planes and, above all, on foot - wrestles with the dangers of converting longing into language, and reclaims and reshapes the territory of the male travel writer by creating personal and innovative maps of cities by which Walsh navigates the complexities of modern love. This is a work about borders - between places, people, genres - and how we might cross them. Challenging the divisions between intellect and intimacy, Walsh blends the personal and the critical to tell a mystery story about her own reality. But Break.up also challenges the borders between fiction and non-fiction, ranging widely into eclectic essays on music, boredom, shame, photography, marriage, art. From Rome to Budapest, Freud to Foucault, algorithms to nostalgia, this is a stimulating, original work which dismantles what we know of love, and how we make art from it, and finds a new form and language for the way we love now.