It is hard to give your heart to someone without getting hurt. Pablo Picasso’s women knew it best, as well as Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo (whose husband cheated on her with her own sister), or the movie actress Mia Farrow when she found out that her ex-husband, filmmaker Woody Allen, was having an incestuous affair with his adoptive daughter. Just when we think that everything is perfect, that finally we found our dream partner and that he finally likes us back, the sudden loss arrives. The farewell that we did not see coming takes us to a state of sadness and depression.
Nevertheless, there are stories filled with tragic elements that make us realize that our personal situation is far from being the worst thing that has ever happen. These stories can be found in acclaimed novels written by famous authors of diverse time periods. They explore the deep wounds caused by love. Thus, they offer a moment of catharsis where we can see that our problems on love are nothing compared to what the protagonists go through.
Reading these stories can be a great way to heal our wounds. Meet the stories that make us realize that, in love affairs, things can get worse…
The Lady of the Camellias (1848) – Alejandro Dumas (fils)
The story of the courtesan Margarite Gautier and her adventures in nineteenth-century Paris have captivated the hearts of many readers throughout the centuries. This woman awakens the passion of her lover, Armand Duval, who falls for the courtesan the moment he sees her, although he is aware of her particular lifestyle. They engage in a torrid romance, one that barely has been seen in literature. The author wrote the novel inspired by a real event in his life: the romance he had with courtesan Marie Duplessis, which adds more impact and sensibility to the novel.
The Truce (1959) – Mario Benedetti
By the time you finish this book, the only thing you can do is to stay bummed for hours thinking on the solitude of the protagonist: a grey, melancholic man about to retire, who suddenly finds love in the arms of a much younger woman. The affair between the narrator, Martín Santomé, and Laura Avellaneda is perceived as pure, filled with a beautiful innocence that is accentuated by the fact that an older man finds the excitement of love at first sight. It is an exquisite novel written by an author who elevated Latin-American literature to its peak.
Hopscotch (1963) – Julio Cortázar
The novel that revolutionized Latin-American literature in 1963 narrates the troubled romance between ‘La Maga’ and Oliveira, which touched the hearts of thousands across the globe. “We went around without looking for each other, but knowing we went around to find each other” is one of the most memorable phrases of the novel which summarizes the romance between the protagonists: two individuals that are looking for a definitive form of love that will ultimately unite them. This is an experimental novel where the author masterly pours all of his obsessions.
Wuthering Heights (1847) – Emily Brontë
A classic drama that is as relevant as it was at its time of publication. It narrates the tormented story of Catherine Earnshaw and her beloved Heathcliff. It is a relationship marked by tragedy and it will remind you of all the wounds that are yet to fully heal. This novel may express what love at first sight means, but it also shows the dangers of sickly love and how it evolves and changes with time. Written in a gothic setting, it is a must-read novel for any lover of classical literature.
Talking It Over (1991) – Julian Barnes
Would you rather be cheated by your wife with your best friend or be the friend that destroys a relationship? For the author, both situations are equally painful. What do you think? Each page is a discovery of the heartaches of love. An exquisite reading that is enjoyable and painful at the same time.
Tokyo Blues (1987) – Haruki Murakami
The novel that led Murakami to become the top author for the Japanese youth, Tokyo Blues is an anthem to the loves that never are allowed to blossom, and the rise and pitfalls of friendship. Toru Watanabe is a young literature student who falls for two different women: tormented Naoko and audacious Midori; both will leave him with valuable lessons for the rest of his life. Watanabe soon sees himself trapped in a passionate story marked by the tragedy of death. A book filled with melancholy and nostalgia.
Night Buffalo (1999) – Guillermo Arriaga
This is another story about a love triangle filled with complexities and troubled emotions. Gregorio decides to end his life, something that unleashes guilt in his ex-girlfriend Tania, and best friend Manuel. Jealousy, guilt, and betrayal are the main ingredients in this intense, tragic story.
A Grief Observed (1961) – C.S. Lewis
After the death of his wife due to a long illness, Lewis reflects on the feelings of solitude and loss. With this novel you’ll begin to miss that beloved person and experience loneliness in all its splendor. Nothing is infinite, which is one of the greatest tragedies of our existence, and this can be seen in the novel.
Each of us have experienced different love stories and most of the time extremely intense ones. These feelings of loss, heartache, and love are echoed in these stories and like prisms they show different dimensions of love. Books teach us that life is relative and to embrace our difficulties because you never know, they could have been worse...
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