Sabar, inspired by the fact that his own parents met in Washington Square Park, presents an interesting premise as the basis of Heart of the City. It is the author’s contention that chance meetings in unusually beautiful or iconic settings actually “encourage” couples to fall in love. In order to test this theory of “environmental psychology,” Sabar, after a good deal of effort searching for suitable couples, chose the stories of nine of them for presentation in the book.
Heart of the City includes a 24-page introduction explaining Sabar’s theory and how he arrived at it. There is also a postscripts section at the end to bring to bring the reader up-to-date with each of the nine couples featured, and an epilogue in which the author reflects on what he learned while writing the book. Strangely enough, the epilogue’s last paragraph leaves me with the impression that Sabar might be questioning his theory a little:
"Most of the couples in this book told me they would not have met but for place. The landmarks and public spaces where they spoke their first words were not mere backdrops. They were villages – a small place within a larger one – that slowed time just long enough for two busy people to catch each other’s eye. In rereading their stories recently, though, I noted something that mattered at least as much: the couples were open, and ready, to fall in love."The relative sameness of the nine stories makes me wonder if Sabar might have built a stronger case for his theory by focusing on one or two couples whose marriages failed, indicating perhaps that they were so caught up in the moment, and in the location, that their initial judgment about each other may have been impaired.
Rated at: 3.0
(Review Copy provided by Publisher)