Six books about... love (selected by Andrew Meehan)

By Outwith Books, Glasgow

By Outwith Books, Glasgow

Andrew Meehan, Glasgow-based author of the wonderful novel The Mystery of Love (now available in paperback, £8.99, Head of Zeus) and One Star Awake (New Island Books, £11.99), picks six books in search of love's meaning, reasonings and hardships. 

A Sport and a Pastime: Picador Classic

James Salter

£9.99 £9.29

I kept this novel of desire and longing to hand as I was writing The Mystery of Love. Salter talks elsewhere of avoiding supposition in his work; and I took that to heart in my own work. How do you even begin to come up with fiction that that the reader can feel as well as see? I don't know how. Salter knows how.

Difficult Loves

Calvino Italo Calvino

£15.99 £14.87

Kind, sentimental, obsessive folk living in a world - Italy, midcentury - like our own and doing things much like we do. Depending on your moral outlook, this feels like an artefact from a world that appear simpler than ours, but just as troubling. (If you want to avoid being mugged by the cutes, beware of 'The Adventure of a Married Couple'. Or, let it be the first story you read.)

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept

Elizabeth Smart

£7.99 £7.43

I've not read this in twenty five years. One thing is for certain: I might wait another twenty five before going in again. You'll drift through it in an afternoon. But you won't be the better for it.

The Vegetarian: A Novel

Han (Y) Kang

£8.99 £8.36

You may question why this comes to anyone as a love-story. I've no answer. Here, everyday love is present but altogether inaccessible. I take the titular meat avoider as someone who's too much in love with the world. What a strange and awful state to find yourself in.

Dept. of Speculation

Jenny (Y) Offill

£8.99 £8.36

Another one for a long, sad afternoon. Another story of a marriage. I've had thirty or forty goes at Dept Of Spec, and haven't yet reached the bottom of it. That would be terrible. To finish a book for the first with the feeling that you've used it up in one go?

A Scattering and Anniversary

Christopher Reid

£10.99 £10.22

Does it matter whether or not an author seems to you like a good sort? After spending time in the company of Christopher Reid, and this - really, really - sad and sweet collection of poems, you'll surely wish him all the best.

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