The dreaded V-Day is almost upon us….

February 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Posted in love | 4 Comments
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…so to ‘celebrate’, I’ve decided to list my favourite literary lovers.

1) Cecilia and Robbie in Atonement. So gorgeous, and so goddamn tragic (though the casting of Keira Knightley and James McAvoy as the star-crossed lovers may be partially to blame for my use of the former epithet). And Robbie writes a very dirty love letter.

2) Antony and Cleopatra. She pretends she’s killed herself, so he kills himself; he dies in her arms, so she kills herself. What could be more tragic than that? Perhaps Shakespeare inspired The Smiths? ‘To die by your side, would be a heavenly way to die…’

3) Jude Fawley and Sue Brideshead in Jude the Obscure. Yeah, so there’s suicide here too, and a nasty scene with a pig. And – SPOILER ALERT – they don’t ultimately end up together. But Jude loves Sue, and Sue loves Jude, and but for a bit of fratricide, they might have stayed together.

4) Humbert Humbert and Lolita in Lolita. You might not like it; in fact, you’ve probably not even read it and have already decided that he’s a pervert, pure and simple. But this IS a love story.

5) Hanna and Michael in The Reader. Hmmm…suicide, murder and an unusual coupling…can you sense a pattern here? Despite her sadism, despite her war crimes, and especially despite her illiteracy, I believe that Michael never stops loving Hanna.

Enjoy your V-Day, happily or unhappily single or paired up. And maybe try to have a normal, boring relationship, unlike this lot.

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The eReader

January 20, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Posted in books, German literature, internet, technology | Leave a comment
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Imagine, please, for a moment, that Bernhard Schlink is writing The Reader now.  And it goes a little something like this:

1) Michael meets Hanna, is violently sick. She cleans him up, he does a runner when he realises she’s ogling him naked.

2) Michael sends Hanna an ecard to thank her for clearing up his sick. She tweets him to say come over.

3) Michael gets himself all dirty repairing Hanna’s Mac.  They have passionate sex and then sext at regular intervals for weeks afterwards.

4) Michael begins reading to Hanna from his Kindle. It is compulsory for all German school children to have Kindles.

I don’t think I can bring myself to continue.

The EReader: coming to a bookshop near you soon.  Loving it? No, me neither.

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