Fates and Furies
It’s so hard to tell who is the villain and who is the victim in the tumultuous marriage between Lotto and Mathilde. But author Lauren Groff does a brilliant job of crafting the inner worlds of both of these complicated spouses from the beginning to the end of their marriage.
Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Little House Books Vol. 1 (LOA #229)
Laura Ingalls Wilder
It’s easy for modern couples to complain about marriage being hard. You know what was really hard? Life on the prairie, but Pa and Ma Ingalls made it work despite lives constantly filled with turmoil and upheaval.
Curtis Sittenfeld’s novel is told from the point of view of a kind-but-complicated librarian who marries a brash and charismatic young man who eventually becomes president. Sure it might be based on the life of Laura Bush, but the fictional Alice and Charlie Blackwell are much more than satire and more interesting than the real thing.
You’d have to dig pretty deep to find a marriage more damaged than the one between Nick and Amy. Gillian Flynn is so good at making these characters both contemptuous and relatable. Besides, who hasn’t imagined staging their own death and framing their husband every once in awhile….
How to Be Married
My travel memoir How to be Married follows my own first tumultuous year of marriage. But despite all of the ups and downs, it was a good year and an even better start to a marriage. Sadly, the unhappy marriages in literature often end up being richer and more satisfying for a reader than the happy marriages. I’ve always thought that was a problem. We rarely talk about the happy marriages until they go bad. In How to Be Married, I wanted to try to convey the good and the bad. The book is non-fiction, but while I was writing I submerged myself in the fictional tales of other married couples, both the pleasant and the deeply disturbed. The above books contain some of my favorite marriages in fiction. Click the covers to read my thoughts about each one.
Featured image: Jurij Krupiak/Shutterstock.com; Author Photo: © Grace Chang