07 June 2011

Coup de Grace, by Marguerite Youcenar

This is one of those somewhat vague, dry, dark novels, with a narrator who seems basically incapable of feeling. It was recommended to me as a good book to consider for the class I'm teaching this summer, on concepts of identity as considered through relationships between people, how one person can know another, etc. It doesn't quite fit with that theme, I think, but it would be great in a class on literary portrayals of love (I taught one last summer, is why I think of it). The novel describes the relationship between the narrator and a young woman who loves him. When I checked it out of the library, I noticed that one of the subject keywords was Gay Men, but the book never actually mentions this explicitly, though it's certainly alluded to. Basically, it's the story of unrequited love and the awful things people do because of it - an interesting companion piece to all the romanticized love stories out there...

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