Granville Island Pairings: Freeman’s Love

This series pairs recently released books with items from some of our favourite Granville Island shops. This week, Festival Assistant Aditya Bhagirath reflects on love with a box of macarons.
There are few books more effective at making me weep than a well-done romance. Whether it’s about the swoony feels of first love, the potent tragedy of a doomed affair, or a tale of painful and unrequited yearning, I will be the first in line to devour it. Perhaps the biggest downside to the genre is that it’s hard to find those few truly stellar picks, in both fiction and nonfiction. Take it from the guy who spent a lot of his teenage years scouring Archive of Our Own for the most angsty and fluffy (and cliche-ridden) fanfiction–I know what truly special writing about love and all of its messiness and complexities looks like.

In that way, books about love are the most effective method at reminding us at how much love we have in our lives, or helping us to remember long-gone moments of love, and further, cementing what kind of love we deserve. Perhaps the best solution, then, is to not think of a life without romance as “nothing”–there are so many arrows pointing towards your friends and family, or your passions, or even something as simple as your food, that evoke love.

In the newest issue of the acclaimed journal, Freeman’s: Love centres itself around the question, “Is love the greatest and most powerful force of all?” Throughout the collection, authors such as Tommy Orange, Haruki Murakami, Maaza Mengiste and many more, all flex their skills in upholstering the usual methods people use when talking about love; their words are a rejuvenation of something once thought lost, a newly created path into unseen wonders, and a testament to how much love hurts–painfully and joyously.

I consumed the words of Freeman’s: Love along with a box of a dozen macarons that I snagged from Bon Macaron on Granville Island. Like the book collection, there was a wealth of options that I could choose from to start–do I pair the “chocolate decadence” with Mieko Kawakami’s “Heaven with a Capital H”? How about “champagne” with Sandra Cisneros’ “Exploding Cigar of Love”? The possibilities are endless! I found that immersing myself in these authors’ evocations of love’s cruelty and kindness was very similar to finishing a dozen macarons in one sitting–it was more difficult than I expected, and it isn’t all happy. But at the end of the day, I enjoyed every second of it and wouldn’t change it for the world.


Aditya Bhagirath