Five Love Stories in Literature

Emma was happily writing a post about our favourite love stories in literature, when Richard decided it would be more interesting to do our favourite TRAGIC love stories in literature. So, through tears, here are our top five. Thoughts, readers?

1. One Day by David Nicholls

‘Dexter, I love you so much. So, so much, and I probably always will. … I just don’t like you anymore. I’m sorry.’

Cue uncontrollable weeping. This was a breakout novel for David, and with just cause. One Day rewards second, third and fourth reads for the tragic and – probably? – recognisable story of Emma and Dexter as we learn of their relationship all the way from University until The End. If there is anyone left who hasn’t read this book – Valentine’s Day is a Saturday. If you’re not working, go and buy it, sit and read it and thank us for the recommendation.

2. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Ah – Dolores Haze, aka Lolita, Lo-lee-ta, the subject of Humbert Humbert’s ardent desire. This one opens with the foreword stating that both Lolita and Humbert are dead – tragic, already. It’s the most provocative love story there is, we’d say, but is tragic in its own way, too. I cannot say that I cried whilst reading, but it’s certainly one that knocks you for six.

3. The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

We kind of want to use this to give a review of the film, but we will resist. This is a classic story of long and deeply held feelings (obsessive, perhaps?) of absolute love. Jay Gatsby cuts a tragic figure in this famous love story, with our endearing narrator playing a part in bringing him and Daisy back together, for a brief while at least. Glamour and glitz abound in this classic.

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 

It doesn’t get much more tragic than The Fault in Our Stars. We are huge fans (who isn’t?) of this YA bestseller that is the saddest of tragic love stories. You can’t help but love Hazel and Augustus and root for them from their very first eye contact. And the film is wonderfully faithful to the book (we have a feeling John Green’s legions of fans would have had something to say had it not been…).

5. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

“I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again…”

The Amber Spyglass is our Very Favourite tragic love story. The conclusion to the His Dark Materials trilogy, we discover what happens to Will and Lyra (bearing in mind that Will only appears in the second book, The Subtle Knife). We have to say goodbye to the most glorious cast of characters, but it’s the story of these two lovers that is the most poignant. It’s bold, and clever and not afraid to be realistic rather than satisfy the reader’s romanticised notions.


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