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10 OFFBEAT BOOKS ABOUT LOVE

10 books that go straight to the heart.


‘Jennie Gerhardt’ by Theodore Dreiser


It’s the author's second book that critics consider to be "the best American novel that has ever been read". The book tells about the sad love between Jenny, who comes from an extremely poor family, and rich Lester Kane. The novel also shows how society reacts to the love affair between two people of different social classes.


‘The Age of Innocence’ by Edith Wharton


Thanks to this novel, Edith Wharton became the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize. The book tells the story of the lawyer Newland Archer who falls in love with his fiancee's cousin, the Countess Ellen Olenska. This happened on the eve of his wedding. And people immediately made Ellen a target for gossip and attacks. This poignant love story shook the foundations of New York’s high society in the 1870s and provided the basis for the eponymous film by Martin Scorsese.


"Tsarivna" by Olga Kobylyanskaya


Lesya Ukrainka said: "I like this book not for its ideas but for Natalka's deep, delicate, and logical way of thinking. When I was reading this novel, I was thinking about the unhappy woman’s lot”. Throughout all her life, the Ukrainian writer Olga Kobylyanskaya was concerned about women’s rights to education, employment and social activities. She wrote a lot of stories on that subject. One of them is "Tsarivna", where the love story is subtly intertwined with the main events of the plot.


‘The Garnet Bracelet’ by Alexander Kuprin


The story is based on a true story that Kuprin filled with sad poetry. The book tells how unrequited feelings for a married woman make the main character commit suicide.


"Hello, Sadness!» by Francoise Sagan


The debut novel of Francoise Sagan became a real sensation in the 50s. At that time, she was only 19 years old. The main character of the book has little to do with love: the boy, who she swims and sunbathes with, is unlikely to be her great love. But the girl’s boredom and immaturity make her destroy a great and true love between her father and failed stepmother.


‘Froth on the Daydream’ by Boris Vian


This is one of the rare instances when intellectual prose turns out to be funny. Boris Vian’s novel "Froth on the daydream" was adapted for the screen five years ago by Michel Gondry with Audrey Tautou in the lead role.


‘Roksolyana’ by Osip Nazaruk


The Ukrainian author got so carried away by the life history of Nastya Lisovskaya, who had become the wife of the caliph and padishah Suleiman the Great, that he decided to write a novel about her in the 30s of the last century. For many decades, the book was banned and only after the collapse of the Soviet Union it was made available for reading.


‘Letter From an Unknown Woman’ by Stefan Zweig


A famous writer receives a long love letter on his forty-first birthday. It’s a passionate confession of a woman for whom he was the center of the universe and the point of life. However, he does not remember her because their perfunctory, occasional intimacy remained such an insignificant episode for him that he can’t even recall the face of the woman who loved him so devotedly.


‘Tender is the Night’ by Francis Scott Fitzgerald


The novel tells about the man who is slowly falling apart under the oppression of his wife's illness and his own demoralizing lifestyle. The book is largely autobiographical, with Fitzgerald describing the flip side of his seemingly lavish life with his wife Zelda. In the story of the talented psychiatrist’s moral degradation, he described the pain and sufferings that he experienced while fighting his wife's schizophrenia.


‘The Museum of Innocence’ by Orhan Pamuk


The wedding of the young entrepreneur Kemal is to take place in a few months. But suddenly, he runs into his poor distant relative Fusun, and they fall in love with each other. Kemal likes both women, but Fusun finds out about his engagement and leaves the city in anger. Kemal starts to maniacally think about her and collect her old things, including the cigarette ends with her lipstick on them.


‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows


In post-war London, the young writer Juliet tries to find a plotline for her new book, but she does not want to write about the horrors of war. Other topics seem to be either boring or inappropriate. Incidentally, she receives a letter from a pig farmer who lives on the island of Guernsey. He asks her to recommend him a good bookshop. This letter turns Juliet's life upside down. The story of the book society, which has become a cover for forbidden villagers’ meetings, involves and fascinates her.


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