Books Briefing: Giving Romance a Language

The sweet little messages on Valentine’s Day candies and cards simplify romance in a pleasant, cheerful way. But the many nuances of affection are difficult to put into words.

Patrick Hamilton’s novels highlight the messiness of relationships, exploring all the ways love can be troublesome when it’s mismatched. The author André Aciman’s Find Me catches up with the central lovers of his celebrated novel Call Me by Your Name after they’ve moved on from their years-ago fling. They still pine for each other, revisiting circumstances in which feelings seem impossible to articulate. The young protagonists in Mary H. K. Choi’s Emergency Contact meet during one character’s panic attack and cultivate a romance through text messages, their intimacy defined by the digital world.

In her book An Exclusive Love, which chronicles her grandparents’ choice to die together rather than risking one having to live without the other, Johanna Adorján attempts to plainly narrate this complex event—even incorporating police reports about it—while also imagining dialogue to create a portrait of the couple. Maggie Nelson’s Bluets breaks free of traditional narratives, telling the story of an affair by weaving together allegorical lyric essays about the color blue.

Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas.

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What We’re Reading

An exploration of desire
“In the decade since its publication, Call Me by Your Name has grown from an object of niche devotion to one of mainstream interest, in great part because [André] Aciman chose to give Elio and Oliver what they wanted: each other.”

📚 Find Me, by André Aciman
📚 Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman

How to fall in love over text
“Emergency Contact is a book about how relationships that begin as a collection of pixels can become capital-R Real—in the Velveteen Rabbit sense. It’s also about the vague and slippery rules of communication in the digital age that both help and hurt those relationships.”

📚Emergency Contact, by Mary H. K. Choi

Writing unconventional narratives that reconstruct love
“Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, an ode to a mysterious ‘prince of blue,’ written in short, numbered sections, [is] more like a philosophical proof than a traditional love story.”

📚 Bluets, by Maggie Nelson
📚 Heart Berries, by Terese Marie Mailhot

(Tamas Panczel-Eross / Shutterstock)

An Exclusive Love is a romantic tragedy
“The book chronicles the final hours of Vera and Pista Adorjan, Hungarian

Source:: The Atlantic – Culture


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