Lonely Hearts – Nadia Eghbal

By contrast, authors like Murakami and Kundera tell the tale in reverse. Their heroes start out with their beloved right in their arms, and yet they repeatedly struggle to make a meaningful connection. Whereas the typical romance novel deals with overcoming external obstacles — whether it’s becoming more attractive, ignoring the disapproval of others, or crossing land and sea to be together — in this sort of romantic fiction, the battle is internal. The protagonist is paralyzed, despite feeling some vague murky depth of strong connection, leaving them trapped behind a glass door, their loved one waiting on the other side. Nothing keeps them apart, except for themselves.

I think these stories tend to get mistyped because romantic fiction is expected to be hyper-expressive. It’s hopeful and optimistic. It assumes the hero is willing and ready and able to love, if only they are given the opportunity. Whereas this version of romance is hypo-expressive, centered on the tragicomic inability to say what one means to say, despite desperately wanting to.

https://nayafia.substack.com/p/18-lonely-hearts

 

 

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