The Conversations: 66 Reasons to start Talking

Olivia Fane

‘Superbly ingenious – this book will make you think and argue’ Oliver James, author of Affluenza, Office Politics and They F*** You Up

‘This book is so unusual, and so good, that I want to spend as much time as possible just quoting it.’ The Sunday Telegraph

‘Full of wisdom about how to live, what it means to be you and how to communicate that knowledge to the people you love.’ Andrew G. Marshall, author of I Love You But I’m Not in Love with You

We have all known the heady thrill of a conversation that goes on all night. Once we had opinions on everything but as life becomes more humdrum we often lose that passion. Sometimes we can’t remember what we really think at all.

This brilliant book encourages us all to think anew. Olivia Fane provides the starting points for 66 conversations to be had with a partner, friend, stranger, or simply ourselves. These thought-provoking and provocative short discussions on happiness, vanity, infidelity, education and more, ask you the questions that will help you get to know those with whom you share your life.

Whether you agree, or vehemently disagree, THE CONVERSATIONS provides endless food for thought and a surprising window into some of the big subjects that define who we are and how we live.

‘The charisma of her writing will certainly win her allies, but Fane doesn’t try to impose her belief system on her readers. You will read the book in a single sitting and dip back into it for years to come.’ We Love This Book/The Bookseller

‘Are you a socialist? Well, what is a socialist, exactly? Maybe it’s someone who wants a fair society. But then, maybe it’s someone who wants us all to be equal, which is different. And then again, you might ask, equal in what way? Okay: your partner has sex, once, with somebody else. Alternatively, your partner has a close friendship with someone else. A third possibility: your partner becomes infatuated with someone else. Which is worse, and why? Another question: what’s wrong with state schools — and what would really happen if private schools were abolished? Olivia Fane gives us 66 things to talk about in 66 terrific little essays.’ The Evening Standard

‘Have you ever been at a dinner party and suddenly realised there is no real conversation going and wished for ideas to start a really good one? Ever wondered where conversation disappears to when you’ve been with the same partner for a long time? Does it really have to just peter out, as though human beings were finite containers, the contents of which simply got used up over time? Most of us have known the heady joy of conversations that can go on all night. As teenagers and students, we had an opinion on everything. But as we get older, the humdrum of domestic life gets louder and we begin to lose touch with ourselves. This book will encourage you to think anew, and is as much about self-knowledge as getting to know those we share our lives with. In THE CONVERSATIONS Olivia Fane has written sixty six short essays, all thought-provoking and some provocative, all aimed at providing starting points for conversations: on happiness, on vanity, on the Soul (according to Plato), on infidelity, on education … and many more. Whether you agree with Olivia, or vehemently disagree, THE CONVERSATIONS will provide endless food for thought. Something different, something freewheeling. An alternative and surprising window into a partner or a friend, or even yourself.’ The Stylist

‘Fane light-heartedly shares her personal experiences of, and opinions about, sometimes serious issues, with at the end of each a couple of questions to talk about. To revive conversation.’ Nederlands Dagblad

Recommended as a gift for the holidays by Trouw

‘Because of the easy applicable starting points for conversation this book in a witty way offers ideas to deepen your relationships.’ Margriet, the biggest weekly women’s magazine in Holland

‘In a witty way this book gets you going again.’ Flair, large weekly women’s magazine

‘Her book contains witty and wide-ranging topics, followed by surprising questions you can use to debate on together afterwards.’ Happinez, a monthly magazine

‘So say goodbye to that well deserved night’s sleep, because next to getting to know this British author who speaks her mind, the reader receives in ’63 ideeën voor een goed gesprek’ more than enough input for a series of inspiring nights.****’


  • Square Peg/Random House UK
  • Nieuw Amsterdam NL
  • Droemer Knaur Germany

Material: finished copies (261pp)