“Name a favorite literary couple and tell me why they are a favorite. If you cannot choose just one, that is okay too. Name as many as you like–sometimes narrowing down a list can be extremely difficult and painful. Or maybe that’s just me.”
The Master and Margarita (Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov) They’re destined to be together. There is no greater love than what Margarita has shown the Master, whose life as a novelist has been completely ruined by his unpublished book. Margarita would sacrifice her life to Satan (literally) in exchange for the Master’s happiness. This book is my favorite novel of all time.
Maurice and Clive (Maurice, E.M. Forster) The novel is remarkable for its time in describing same-sex love in a non-condemnatory way. A beautiful story of doomed love. For two years they have a committed if exceedingly chaste romance, which they must keep hidden from everyone they know. It is obvious that Maurice hopes for more of their only platonic attachment, but slowly it becomes clear that Clive is basically equally attached to society’s view of what is right and wrong.
Gogol and his mother Ashima (The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri) The bond between mother and son has transcended generational difference and cultural clash, for she has immigrated into the strange land of America and gives birth to a son who knows absolutely nothing about his roots and his parents’ sacrifice. His being named after the Russian writer has always slighted him but yet the name beholds a secret that is known only between his parents.
Count Diakonov, Chubinov, and Kamensky (The Birds Fall Down, Rebecca West) Probably the most intimate literary relationship. A count who’s been banished, a double agent who works for both the Tsar and the Reactionary, and a terrorist who is the link between the two—and the former and the latter meet on a train where they revile each other one minute only to reminisce together fondly in the next.
Thadeus Dreyer (4 Incarnations) (Shadow without a Name, Ignacio Padilla) A book that deserves more attention and readership. The four incarnations of Thadeus Dreyer have nothing to do with one another—they are not even related. The name is appropriated over a century. The novel cleverly evokes the question of identity and selfhood against the historical backdrop of the darkest period of the twentieth century, as men appropriated names of each other, shielded off past memories and adopted new identities in the hope of a changed, better destiny.
Filed under: Books, Literature, Reading | Tagged: Booking Through Thursday, Books, Literary couples, Literature, Maurice, Meme, Reading, The Birds Fall Down, The Master and Margarita, The Namesake | 25 Comments »