Books to read -and better understand – your partner


Among the many unexpected events brought on by these days of confinement, one is a double-edged sword: a large number of hours together. Being together sharing these uncertain moments is a good thing, but can also become a source of conflict. Reading, as with other difficulties in life, can help us overcome these problems. Today we have selected a collection of books about relationships. Books that help us understand different points of view and, maybe, teach us to be more patient. Books to develop empathy, and, perhaps, be a little happier.

The boredom that can arise in long-term relationships has been a much-explored theme in literature—reflected in novels such as Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road. A tragic outcome compounds the different ways of looking at life and the disparate desires of a prototypical marriage in an American suburb.  Something similar happens in Music for Torching, in which A. M. Homes shows us how the existential void that grips a couple can provoke unusual acts, such as letting your own house burn down.  In The
Summer Without Men
, Siri Hustvedt focuses on a woman whose partner asks for a break, and she returns to where she grew up.

Great novels have also reflected tortuous relationships often conditioned by political and social events. In If Beale Street Could Talk, James Baldwin tells the story of a young African-American couple in the United States in the 1970s who face racism and unfair prosecution. Sometimes it is the war that separates the paths of two people who love each other, as Frédéric Beigbeder shows us in Oona and Salinger. Scott Fitzgerald witnesses in The Beautiful and Damned the dissolute life of its protagonists, which ends in a progressive degradation.

Examining one’s and others’ relationships with the perspective of time has generated a good number of remarkable works. In On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan confronts us with the beginnings of marriage in puritanical England in the 1960s.  In Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez investigates his parents to tell their decades-long love story.   Different is the case of Levels
of Life,
in which Julian Barnes takes us through the painful series of reflections that the loss of a loved one entails

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