Friday, March 30, 2018

Thirty of literature's worst couples

One entry from Literary Hub's list of thirty of the worst couples in literature:
Hannah and Nate, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

This is maybe something of a cheat, since the whole point of Adelle Waldman’s The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is to illustrate a certain kind of asymmetrical relationship—and a certain kind of entitled, if unconventional, masculinity—that thrives in supposedly liberal, artistic enclaves like gentrifying Brooklyn. But the recognizable types still make for cringe-inducing reading. Nate, a budding young literary intellectual with a checkered romantic history, becomes enamored of sensible, well-read Hannah, a fellow writer with much more self-possession than his previous exes. Their relationship seems good until it isn’t: Nate begins to tire of Hannah, and she shrinks under the unpredictability of his moods, becoming skittish and too eager to please, which annoys him further. (Nathaniel P. was published a little before the “gaslighting” boom, but one can see how it might have figured into the conversation). When he passive aggressively forces Hannah to end things between them, she points out the power imbalance that had wrecked things from the start: “Whatever happened between us was not going to affect you much one way or the other.”
Read about another entry on the list.

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. also appears among Curtis Sittenfeld’s ten books every Pride and Prejudice fan must read, Jeff Somers's five most disastrous dinner parties in fiction, Melissa Albert's top five books to celebrate the start of the new season of HBO’s Girls, Esquire's five most important books of 2014 and Radhika Sanghani's top ten books to make sure you've read before graduating college.

The Page 69 Test: The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P..

--Marshal Zeringue