Love in the Age of Confusion


250 pages
ISBN 0-919688-88-8
DDC C813'.6





Reviewed by Matt Hartman

Matt Hartman is a freelance editor and cataloguer, running Hartman Cataloguing, Editing and Indexing Services.


Montreal-based chef and food-and-restaurant critic Ayanoglu’s first
novel is a bit of this, a smidgen of that, some politics, Québécois
joie de vivre, a cup of unrequited love, a pinch of salt—the whole
leavened with a yeasty mix of florid description (mostly dealing with
the island of Mykanos and the Canadian winter), scenes of Montreal life
in both anglophone Westmount and francophone Plateau, and enough
explicit sex to make one sit up and take notice. The mixture,
unfortunately, falls apart on too many occasions to result in a
successful denouement, and the reader is left with the taste of
something gone a little sour.

At the heart of the story is the love affair between wealthy, handsome
Ari, an erstwhile filmmaker (with his mother’s money), and the
gorgeous, headstrong, and independent Arletty. Into this cliché come
the youngsters’ parents, Duncan and Maria McLeod on the one hand, and
Louis-Marc and Josette on the other. While the two mothers become fast
friends, the fathers remain symbols of their respective backgrounds
until the novel’s fantastical conclusion terminates the whole frantic

Ayanoglu tries hard, but hasn’t yet achieved the language skills a
novelist needs to bring a story to life. He has a particularly hard time
taming his inclination toward wordiness. The dialogue isn’t much
better than the exposition, despite Ayanoglu’s success as a
playwright; one rarely gets a feeling for any of the characters through
their words. If you want to learn a few recipes (Ragotte des pattes, for
example), some menus, the effect of the evening sun on the island of
Mykanos, then Love in the Age of Confusion might be worth the read.


Ayanoglu, Byron., “Love in the Age of Confusion,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 13, 2024,