January 5, 2008

"Samuel Beckett, not known for displays of strong feeling, cried his eyes out over 'Effi Briest.'"

The 5 best books about marriage. "Anna Karenina" and "Madame Bovary" don't make this list, but don't complain unless you've read these 5, which of course, you haven't.


George said...

....when our smoke was over, he pressed his forehead against mine, clasped me round the waist, and said that henceforth we were married; meaning, in his country's phrase, that we were bosom friends; he would gladly die for me, if need should be. In a countryman, this sudden flame of friendship would have seemed far too premature, a thing to be much distrusted; but in this simple savage those old rules would not apply.

After supper, and another social chat and smoke, we went to our room together. He made me a present of his embalmed head; took out his enormous tobacco wallet, and groping under the tobacco, drew out some thirty dollars in silver; then spreading them on the table, and mechanically dividing them into two equal portions, pushed one of them towards me, and said it was mine. I was going to remonstrate; but he silenced me by pouring them into my trowsers' pockets. I let them stay....

We undressed and went to bed, at peace with our own consciences and all the world. But we did not go to sleep without some little chat.

How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts' honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg - a cosy, loving pair.

--From Chapter X: A Bosom Friend, Moby Dick

rhhardin said...

Thurber & White _Is Sex Necessary?_ is not on the list. This is not a serious list.

And the former wife on the bookcase cartoon isn't mentioned.

former law student said...

Isn't it convenient that the five best novels on marriage ever written come from the period of novel writing in which he is an expert? I wonder what Mrs. Mendelson thinks are the best novels about marriage ever written. What if "Love Story" was one of them? Would Mr. Mendelson disown her?

John Stodder said...

What about "Ulysses?"

What about "Tender is the Night?"

What about "Revolutionary Road?"

Most of these books are terribly obscure and couldn't possibly exceed in literary quality and marital insight the three cited above, which were off the top of my head.