Over the course of my tenure as publisher of Other Press, I have observed that we have many works of literature that tackle issues that are not yet fully acknowledged in our culture, notably this: Intelligent women who fall in love seem to be confronted with very different challenges than in the past (not that their lives were any easier in the past, let’s be clear on that).
And others have noticed this as well—Girls creator and star Lena Dunham agrees that Willful Disregard (published February 2016) is “perfect,” and Prep author Curtis Sittenfeld gifted it to a friend, calling it “[a novel] about how love makes fools of even the smartest people.”
These literary works expose how the contemporary woman’s notion of romantic love undermines her ability to accept that men have undergone a transformation: men today are more disarmed and clueless than women are prepared to accept. Our society has an outdated vision of romantic love that doesn’t quite fit the broadening landscape of intellectual and professional equality between the sexes. Women are ready to reinvent love and marriage to fit these new circumstances. Men seem to find this scary.
Writers from around the world are exploring these intricacies, offering new insights that promise to be very satisfactory for readers—women and men alike. Whether it be crisis in marriage, anxiety over starting relationships, or radical discrepancies between what a woman imagines and the reality of the situation, the stories they tell make for riveting reading.
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Couple Mechanics by Nelly Alard
The Other Woman by Therese Bohman
Drowned by Therese Bohman
Your Voice in My Head by Emma Forrest
The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay byAndrea Gillies
Climates by André Maurois
Conjugal Love by Alberto Moravia
Happy Are the Happy by Yasmina Reza
All Days Are Night by Peter Stamm
Unformed Landscape by Peter Stamm
A Week in October by Elizabeth Subercaseaux
The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann