Five Books on Horrendous Breakups
Ahhhh Valentine’s Day, romance is in the air, it’s all flowers, and chocolate, and l’amour, right?? Or rather, it’s cold, dark, and there’s a tremendous amount of pressure to have a romantic day with your beloved or, gasp, forget it if you’re single.... So to make us all feel a little bit better about our not picture perfect current relationship or about being on our own, we’re offering you Five Books on Horrendous Breakups. It could always be worse!
Bluebeard by Charles Perrault/ The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
You could go old school on this one and read the fairy tale penned by Charles Perrault, but we prefer Angela Carter’s more modern take on this grizzly classic of love gone very very wrong. The title story of Carter’s collection The Bloody Chamber, features luxurious language, ominous foreshadowing, and a feminist twist on this murderous marriage. There’s nothing like a homicidal husband to make you thankful for being single this holiday.
Wolf Hall/Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Speaking of homicidal husbands.... If your taste runs more to historical fiction, we suggest Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall series. Although most of us are familiar with ‘Enry the Eighth and his six wives (Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived), Mantel gives us a new view on the story by framing it in the world of Thomas Cromwell as he navigates the rise and fall of Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. You’ll be glad not to be in her corset this St. Valentine’s.
See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid
This was Kincaid’s first novel in ten years about an ugly divorce. We’re not saying the main characters are thinly veiled versions of Kincaid and her former husband, the composer Allen Shawn, son of the famed New Yorker editor William Shawn and brother of actor and playwright Wally Shawn (but we kind of are.) Kincaid gets her revenge in this book and the rest of us can stand by and be thankful our relationships aren’t that bad.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
We count at least three relationships that go off the, ahem, rails in this doorstopper of a classic (with our doomed and lovely heroine involved in two of them.) We can all revel in the passion that Anna finds with Vronsky, and grimace when that happiness starts to unravel. But thank goodness for Kitty and Levin who bring a little hope for simple romance back into the bleak world of the Russian aristocracy.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This bestselling page turner from a few years ago may win the prize for worst literary relationship (spoiler alert ahead) that does not end in death. At least “cool girl” Amy Dunne and her philandering husband Nick seem to deserve each other. Read this one when you really want to celebrate being single.