One Who Loves by Toni Fuhrman

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 4 customer ratings
(4 customer reviews)

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We had run out of small talk. The old rowboat held us up, kept us dry, soothed and dissolved, in its slow revolutions, Tess’s fear of the water and my misgivings …

So begins One Who Loves, a novel about the extraordinary conflicts that impinge on seemingly ordinary lives. Liz—passionate but reserved—takes us on her journey as she grapples with crises of love, loyalty, and the inexorable pull of sexual attraction.

Liz and Patrick. Tess and Jon. They meet at a University of Michigan co-op and quickly form a quartet “prickly with emotion, a zesty compote of lust, jealousy, and friendship.” Their relationship endures over the years—often strained by Liz’s desire for Jon, as well as Tess’s willful exploits and free-spirited lifestyle.

How does it feel to love a man who belongs to another—and that ‘other’ your closest friend? Where does loyalty end and self-interest begin? What do you do when you are asked, in the name of friendship, to tamper with life and death?

One Who Loves is a thoughtful, and thought-provoking, exploration of friendship, love, and compassion.

4 reviews for One Who Loves by Toni Fuhrman

  1. Rated 5 out of 5


    One woman is too careful; one woman isn’t careful at all: These lives are dramatically intertwined in Toni Fuhrman’s wonderful novel One Who Loves. Throughout their lives, Liz and Tess, their husbands and children, play off of one another in moving and surprising ways. Because of Fuhrman’s imaginative craft, the reader will always find the power of the story and its people fully compelling.
    There are no heroes or villains here, only human beings complete in their bravery and their stumbling. Tess expresses one of the complexities of relationships when she says to Liz, “He loves me more than I love him. Just as Patrick loves you more than you love him. Don’t you think I know that? Why do you suppose they put up with us?”
    When Tess reveals to Liz the startling story behind her lifelong fear of water, she also offers insight into the paradox of emotional life: “… someone can hurt you profoundly, and save you, at one and the same time.” There are many points of revelation throughout the novel, all of them unexpected, yet all of them true to the world Fuhrman creates.
    It’s the novelist’s task to pull a reader into her world by weaving together the threads of character, plot, time and place in a way that always rings true. One Who Loves is a novel which fulfills that task beautifully.
    The final chapter brings together Liz and Patrick, Tess and Jon as middle aged people, people the reader has followed since their college days. The chapter revisits their long years of friendship and reminds them of loss: loss of youth, of vitality, of one another. And yet Liz’s final statement brings closure revealing the inner strength she’s gained because of the love, jealousy, anger and acceptance she’s come through.
    This story’s intensity, along with the fine craft of Fuhrman’s writing, make One Who Loves a must-read.

    ~ Holly Prado, award-winning poet and author of eleven books, most recently, Oh, Salt/Oh, Desiring Hand

    (Note, this review was posted by the editor. The review was done at an earlier time. 5 stars are editor’s, not original review, which did not use a star rating.)

  2. Rated 5 out of 5


    One of the many pleasures of reading Toni Fuhrman’s One Who Loves is the writing itself—as lyrical and precise as poetry, richly detailed and beautifully textured—and another is the vividness and complexity of the characters—how they come to life on the page, with all their passions and all their flaws, with their complicated inner lives and their complicated relationships to one another. One Who Loves follows the long friendship of two couples, intertwined from their university days in the counter-culture of the early 1970’s through middle-age in the late 1990’s, together through almost every kind of heartache and trauma and joy. At the story’s center, the dazzling and confounding Tess reminds those who love her, and those she loves, that those who take the great risk of love are those who live most deeply and fully; she reminds us, too, that we find our only true home in one another. The authenticity of the details of these lives is what shines hardest, in the end, and that love.

    ~ Cecilia Woloch, author of the novel, Sur la Route, and six award-winning collections of poetry
    (Note, This review was posted by the editor from a review done earlier. The star rating is not the reviewers, but rather an artifact of the system.)

  3. Rated 5 out of 5


    Between the opening Somerset Maugham quote, “There’s always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved,” and the end of the first scene, “Does anything matter, now that it’s all but over?” lies the story of two couples and the fluctuating passions that bind them for a lifetime. The core love story is Liz’s, the dominant character often Tess, together with the men they love.
    Liz’s quiet love is no match for the electric Tess, who magnetizes and energizes all around her and marries Jon, the man Liz will love first and last throughout her life. The depth of Liz’s pain colors her life but doesn’t destroy the love she bears Tess. She marries Patrick, who adores her, thus becoming the stormy nexus of the one loved and the lover.
    The waves of love, jealousy, lust, and anger that flow between the two couples, rather than destroying the friendship seem to bond the four, so that it becomes the story of the many different forms of love that sustain us. The novel’s power lies in the grace and delicacy of Toni Fuhrman’s prose as she traces the shifting balance of love and being loved through their lives.

    ~ Judith Kirscht, author of the award-winning Home Fires and three other novels

    Editor (5 stars are editor’s, not original review, which did not use a star rating)

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Gigi woodrow

    I loved this book. It’s an intricate study of the human condition that follows the lives of several people from college through their adulthoods, from idealism to maturity. It has some interesting and unexpected twists and turns. Very readable yet still made me increase my vocabulary. ????

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