The month of February might be over but that is hardly a reason to not read books about love. Nowhere has the complexity of the emotion better spread out and exhibited than in books. In case you are looking to read one, here are some you can choose from.
Eric Segal’s Love Story
Published in 1971, Segal’s Love Story is one of those books which are passed down from one generation to the other. It centers on a young girl and a boy who get married and the very first page informs the end of their story. Yet, it is this perennial premise of star-crossed lovers, the way they meet and the words they exchange which outlived their relationship and immortalised Oliver and Jenny’s love story. Years since then many will follow an ‘I love you’ with a ‘because’, just like Jenny did.
Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood
This 1987 novel based on a Beatles’ song is a glorious display of the author’s fixation with music. At the same time it is a striking departure from other Murakami novels and some will even suggest it is the author’s best work. While that remains contestable, Norwegian Wood is a moving story of love and its constant companion: loss.
The story follows a 37-year-old Toru Watanabe and a sea of memories which engulf him after hearing the song Norwegian Wood floating in the air. It reaffirms the idea of soulmate while emphasising the path to find one is anything but easy.
The Love Poems of Rumi
Poems express by hiding. And in case you are resorting to poetry, there is no better gift than The Love Poems by Rumi for this day. All the poems by the Persian poet are devotional in nature, filled with longing and plight. Perhaps these also make them enduring love poems as they enclose a selflessness which no other emotion other than love yields.
There are several books by Rumi you can choose and the comforting bit is you will not be disappointed.
Sally Rooney’s Normal People
Some stories tell you about love and some remind how it felt to be in love for the first time. Rooney’s phenomenal novel falls in the second category. Normal People is about two people Connell and Marianne who meet to part and part to meet. Misunderstandings, mostly nursed by silences, and words stuck at the throat define their relationship but so does the inexorable need to be with each other. Rooney presents it as a compelling critique of capitalism, structuring the story likewise. But it is the inherent humanity of loss which makes it one of the best novels to have come out in recent times.
The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moye
The latest book from Jojo Moyes is already making waves. It focuses on a journalist who chances upon an old letter when going through newspaper archives in search of a story. Dated 1960 the letter was written by a man entreating his lover to leave her husband. This hits Ellie because she too is caught in a similar storm, embroiled in a relationship with a married man.
In this book of last lovers, two women are pulled by the power of words as they discover being tied to each other by common wounds and loss.
Love Rosie by Cecelia Ahern
Published in 2004, Love Rosie centers around two people who have everything going for them and yet being together eludes them. Rosie and Alex are best friends since childhood and though everyone around them are certain they ought to be with each other, both take some time before convincing themselves. But as they say, life happens when we are busy making other plans. With the passage of time they fight against fate to be with each other but all it does it pulls them together to tear them apart.
The Swap by Shuma Raha
In her 2019 book, Shuma Raha dissects the various intricacies embedded in a relationship, dismantling what we perceive as a happily-ever-picture. Priya Bakshi and Akash Srivastav have been married for six years and though nothing is apparently amiss, stagnancy soon creeps in. It is soon revealed that Priya is having an affair and Akash is on the verge of looking for sexual escapades. In the midst of this they are told of Delhi’s couple-swapping parties and soon both the husband and wife concede to participate in.
With a premise such as this, Raha explores the blurring lines of morality which makes everyone an accomplice.