Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Top ten novels of sexual jealousy

"There is a strange affiliation between literature and jealousy. Jealousy is wordy; it gorges on language. It is hyperbolic, growing fatter on every expression of itself," writes Howard Jacobson, author of The Act of Love and other novels, at the Guardian. "This is delicious for any writer who is not an understater of emotion. I love the dark, interior stickiness of the subject, where torment knows it should not be left to itself, but wants it no other way, and the victim forever haunts the border between the thing he fears and the thing he longs for."

One title from his top ten list of novels of sexual jealousy:
Herzog by Saul Bellow

Bellow's heroes appear to be in charge because they are so dazzlingly smart. But they suffer tortures of jealousy at the hands of women who are bored with their dazzling smartness. Herzog more than most. If you want to write a great comedy make your hero a reflective cuckold who reads a lot.
Read about another novel on Jacobson's list.

Herzog also appears on Eli Gottlieb's top ten list of scenes from the battle of the sexes.

--Marshal Zeringue