Warning: Use of undefined constant c - assumed 'c' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/lms/webapps/wp_ilylm/wp-content/themes/light-w-color-changer-orange-02/pagefunctions.php on line 10

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/lms/webapps/wp_ilylm/wp-content/themes/light-w-color-changer-orange-02/pagefunctions.php:10) in /home/lms/webapps/wp_ilylm/wp-content/themes/light-w-color-changer-orange-02/pagefunctions.php on line 18

Warning: Use of undefined constant u - assumed 'u' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/lms/webapps/wp_ilylm/wp-content/themes/light-w-color-changer-orange-02/pagefunctions.php on line 21
I Love You, Let's Meet » love stories

love stories

I’m filling out this e-mail interview for a book distributor and it’s all been easy and fun til this question:

I imagine that a person who writes a book on modern love and online dating might just be a romantic at heart. What’s your favorite love story (in book form)?

So far I have this [should I not worry that it’s not literary? Should I worry that so many of my favorite writers-about-love paint it as such a hopeless mess? is there another term for “traditional gender roles” that won’t put people off? Or should I not worry about being a feminazi? I can’t help it, it’s how I see the world and always have…]

I liked Norman Rush’s Mating, partly because it was romantic in a way that had nothing to do with traditional gender roles. A woman crosses the desert to be with the man she loves, a man whose jokes and adventurousness and avocation and mind and body she loves and vice versa. I believed they had each found The One. I read it in an all-woman book group and I remember the other gals saying “she seems kind of desperate” and I was defending her, “Now if it was a man risking life and limb to be with his love, we’d call it incredibly romantic! Why does the girl always have to sit in the tower waiting for the prince?!?” I also liked the title story of Melissa Bank’s Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing, which was written to answer Francis Ford’s Coppola’s challenge to please write a story that refutes The Rules, which was very popular then. I loved that Coppola was as horrified by The Rules as I was, and Bank’s story has the girl ending up with someone who really likes her the way she is.

OK, that’s what I have so far. To me, it seems terrifying enough to make yourself vulnerable to someone and let your hopes get up that he/she might love you back, that most versions of “romance,” with girls playing hard to get and guys playing their games seem like way more pain than is necessary.

I looked at my bookshelf and realized I also like how Nicholson Baker and Ian McEwan write about companionate love. Anyone else? I’m not going to steal your ideas or anything; I’m now just very curious about what sorts of love stories in books people most identify with.

9 Comments so far

  1. blossomlover on November 4th, 2006

    Ian McEwan lept to my mind as well, even before I read your answer. The unrequited love of Atonement, the obsessive love of Enduring Love. Neither of them what one would think of as traditional love stories, which seem like fairy tales or romance novels and too saacharine to be believable. I’m surprised to find that, at least on the page, I believe that love is accompanied by pain.

  2. virginia on November 4th, 2006

    or that happiness doesn’t make for great art. Nicholson Baker is pretty rare in being able to write sweet without making your teeth hurt.

    Obsessive unrequited love is one of the best subjects for art, period.

  3. frankenweeny on November 5th, 2006

    …..wuthering heights is an all-time favourite anyway…. …i’ve lost count of how many re-reads…….

    …..and who could forget….. . . . .. . . . . (cheaters quotes from the screenplay)……..

    Marla Singer: My God. I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school.

    [Holding up a wad of cash]
    Marla Singer: You’re not getting this back. I consider it asshole tax.

    Marla Singer: This is cancer right?
    Narrator: This chick Marla Singer did not have testicular cancer. She was a liar. She had no diseases at all. I had seen her at Free and Clear my blood parasite group Thursdays. Then at Hope, my bi-monthly sickle cell circle. And again at Seize the Day, my tuberculous Friday night. Marla… the big tourist. Her lie reflected my lie. Suddenly I felt nothing. I couldn’t cry, so once again I couldn’t sleep.

  4. virginia on November 5th, 2006

    frankenweeny, you are one goth girl. I must admit that if I were Cathy, I’d have been nagging Heathcliff to get on Paxil.

    Fun fact about that line “I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school.” It was gonna be “I want to have your abortion!” but they decided to go with the more tasteful(?!?) version.

    I loved Fight Club too. My fave line was when they were picking who they’d most like to fight and Brad Pitt(?) goes “Ghandi.”

  5. frankenweeny on November 6th, 2006

    …..hahaha….yep, i know the top-soiled line…….

    ……heathcliffe only needs a jaunt on a makeover show………

    …….new wardrobe, some sprucing, maybe he’s a spring, not a winter, you know????……

  6. kmcleod on November 6th, 2006

    Most of the books I’ve been reading have been related to foreign policy. Not much love there. Osama has a crush on Whitney Houston, but he’ll never take the next step. I guess as far as a love story in book form is concerned, I’d have to say The Odyssey. When Odysseus finally rescues his home and family, his wife can’t believe that he’s actually there, that he’s standing before her. It’s impossible, she can’t get her mind around it. And they have a conversation where bit by bit they speak of the times they’ve been together, the things they’ve done, the family they’ve made, and slowly the realization arrives. It always gets to me.

  7. dorothy_parka on November 6th, 2006

    re: Fight Club– the abortion line is from the book. the director came up with the grade school line. proof of the superiority of the movie.

    romantic book? INFINITE JEST!! there are 100 love stories in that book, all misguided and unrequited. when USS Millicent is trying to seduce Mario in the woods? When Joelle is leaning over the just-shot Gately? Owen and everyone he has sex with? Wallace is SUCH a romantic, in a very pomo way.

  8. bigfatpress on November 7th, 2006

    I’m reading Adverbs by Daniel Handler which is all love stories. All love, like the real kind, loaded with tragedy and irony. My favorite in the collection is “often,” which takes place on a Comics cruise, and has a man who is “handsome like a new truck.”

    Handler dissects love a lot in this book. As well as the stories themselves. It’s pretty meta.

    Fight Club, great love story.

    I also kinda liked the love story in The Ha Ha.

    I like love stories that are about accepting imperfections. I’m a sucker for that.

  9. JohnG on November 14th, 2006

    Ok, this may brand me a throw-back, perhaps even in the dating “catch” sense, but for Romantic Love that is not Gaming, I love Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and his beautiful, troubled, and strong women. These stories appeal to me at my present stage of life even more: Marlowe and the women are all jaded, seen it all, done more. They are damaged and tired and they are not, repeat, not looking for love. But Love happens to them, despite their best efforts. And as with many great loves, tragedy is close on its heels in many instances. When I think of Chandler’s work in this regard, I think of the women as one woman, a composite of all the characters he drew so vividly. On screen, it’s more Faye Dunaway in Chinatown than Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep who I think best represents a Chandler heroine; Kim Basinger got a decent piece of it in LA Confidential. And they are heroines one and all, these Chandler women–they come through with good judgement, canny intelligence, and loyalty not just to their (sort of) man, but to doing the right thing, for which they put themselves in harm’s way. And Marlowe is in equal measure there for them. When they meet, there are no games of the sort we’re referring to–they’re just two people who are very clearly attracted to each other but whose circumstances prevent the standard approach of one to the other.
    The romantic plot line of getting these two together drives the entire story, no small feat for the writer of these intricately plotted detective mysteries. I don’t think that’s an accident: by the end of the stories, all hell is breaking loose and Marlowe, against what he pretends to be his better judgment, still tries to save (and be with) the woman he was trying not to fall in love with. The heroine, shows her strength and the strength of her love in bold actions at the moment of truth that amount to her saving Marlowe as much as he’s saving her.
    The mystery writer, then, has finally tipped his hand and shown us what he thinks is real and most important–the solution to the whodunit seems rather secondary to the incendiary love leaping off Chandler’s pages. I always feel like I want to leap in.