Instead of working on my thesis during the break between meeting with Kathryn and class, I read fifty more pages of Orhan Pamuk's The Museum of Innocence. I think it was a good choice. I haven't done anything indulgent since the semester started. Reading it today was like getting a shot to the blood, reminding me of what I love so dearly: words on a page! Pamuk's writing is so beautiful, too. I picked up this hefty novel as a fluke; I'd seen it at Bull's Head while waiting for Guion and paged through it, thought it sounded interesting. Pamuk has been on my to-read list since he won a Nobel in 2006 for Istanbul. When I searched his name at the library, this title, which was published in 2009, came up first, and so I thought I'd go for it. I'm glad I did. Reading it is giving me a little bit of my life back.
That said*, after reading the novel today, I was worried. Why is it that love stories never happen between married people? That all the passionate affairs are always illicit in some respect? Kemal, the main character in Pamuk's novel, is newly engaged when he falls for his distant cousin, Fusun. Their rambunctious and yet sadly touching trysts are troubling to me. Why can't he be in love with his fiancee? I suppose the tension that arises from an extramarital affair naturally makes a more interesting, complex novel... but what about a true novel? Marriage, I suspect, can be just as interesting and complex as an affair. Is it not true that husbands and wives may be just as madly in love as Kemal and Fusun? Woolf says that "fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so slightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners." Fiction, then, should give us more difficult--yet passionately loving--marriages.
Does anyone have a good example of a novel of deep love between a husband and a wife, or between lifelong partners?
(*J.Hecht has his "brass tacks;" I, apparently, have my "that said.")