I know that some people hate Valentine’s Day, and this list is for you. A list of books about doomed love, some weepy, some cruel, some just plain brilliant. Not quite Valentine’s Schadenfreude, these will leave you heartbroken. However, they serve as a reminder that while the course of true love never did run smooth, if does come along, you might just want to run in the opposite direction.
After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell
One day Alice walks out in front of a car, she is not killed but lies in a coma. Disjointed narratives tell a story of love, loss and family secrets. A seriously heartbreaking read.
The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
You play. You win. You play. You lose. You play.
Against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars, a naive soldier Henri and a streetwise young woman Villanelle learn about the destructive and regenerative powers of passion, when nothing is as it seems and what you risk reveals what you value.
The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
Jessamine has grown up knowing that the most innocuous looking plant can have the power to heal or kill. When a mysterious young man arrives to live with Jessamine and her father, little do they suspect that these sinister plants have their own plans for the couple, and that obsession and love when misused can be fatal.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Many people grow up believing that love is fate, love is their destiny. Kathy and Tommy have grown up knowing something different, but hoping that love will be enough to save them.
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
The five beautiful and mysterious Lisbon sisters capture the hearts and imaginations of the neighbourhood boys. Twenty years after each of the girls committed suicide, as grown men the same boys reconstruct from relics and memory, the story of the tragic girls who shaped their early romantic ideals and coloured their desires.
Love Maggie O’ Farrell – The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. The Hand That First Held Mine – have not read this one – thanks.
I think this is much better than The Vanishin Act of Esme Lennox, and I thought that was really good. I bought The Hand That First Held Mine on the weekend and am looking forward to it.
Also loved “After You’d Gone” – I think I read it in about 2 days because wanted I’d started I couldn’t stop!
I read it in university at the same time as my house mate was reading P.S. I Love You. We used to meet in the kitchen between chapters to sob and make each other tea!
I don’t know if I can be up for reading these during the winter. It might be a little depressing, but come spring and definitely summer, when I’m exposed to more light, I might try one of these. My wife liked Eugenides’ Middlesex, so I might would give his “a go,” but only with more light than I’m getting now. 🙂
I take your point on the depressing element. The Virgin Suicides is set during a long, hot summer and is beautiful despite the suicide aspect, so maybe that’s the best one to start with. And The Passion has some freezing cold settings which might even make you feel warm!
I haven’t read much books that are purely based on Love..
I am not sure whether I’ll pick these tragic love stories.. This is not for me.. 🙂
Maybe it’s masochistic, but I love reading tragic stories so much. I’m glad you listed these books– I only have heard of Never Let Me Go (which is on my list to read!).
After You’d Gone is my favourite book. I cried so much in the funeral chapter that I got a headache I couldn’t shift for 2 hours, rang my husband and made him promise to come home from work safely! A book that gives you real emotions from just words always impresses me 🙂