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.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s