Saturday, September 22, 2012

Five of the best tales about stormy couples

Amanda Bennett's books include In Memoriam (1997, with Terence B. Foley), The Man Who Stayed Behind (1993, with Sidney Rittenberg), The Death of the Organization Man (1990), and the recently released memoir, The Cost of Hope.

For the Wall Street Journal she named a five best list of tales about stormy couples, including:
Furious Love
by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger (2010)

The marriage of the century was launched during the filming of the epic "Cleopatra." Richard Burton soon became the octo-nuptarian Elizabeth Taylor's fifth and sixth husband; she would be the second and third of his five. This account of their love is almost too rich with incident and phrase. Burton and Taylor were both verbally adroit ("Well, Mike is dead and I'm alive," she said as she remarried quickly after the death of husband Mike Todd. "What do you expect me to do? Sleep alone?" Elizabeth is "an eternal one-night stand," says Burton.) Their careers map the 1950s and '60s stage and screen. He: "Becket," "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold." She: "National Velvet," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "BUtterfield-8." They: "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," "Doctor Faustus," "Cleopatra." Their vicious fighting was sometimes for the benefit of the crowds, but mostly real. Hard to tell where Antony and Cleopatra, or George and Martha, leave off and Elizabeth and Richard begin. From the private letters on which this volume draws, it is obvious that for each the pill-and-alcohol-fueled drama represented passion and connection and touchingly clear that they found it hard to live either with or without each other. "I don't want to be that much in love ever again," Taylor said when the two divorced the first time, in 1974. Said Burton: "There is no life without you, I am afraid."
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue