Photo of Richard Burton and Yvonne Furneaux from a showing of “Wuthering Heights” As a reader I want a deeply flawed love interest. A relationship that's doomed from the start. My first taste of the deeply flawed love interest was the Byronic hero. I learned about him in the classroom. I saw him in the many TV adaptations of English classics that occupied my youth. He was brooding, aloof, misunderstood. The misunderstood part was key, it meant his despicable behavior was easily forgiven. These doomed affairs were romanticized, held up as examples of great love, something to aspire to (note: I attended an all-girls school so the bar was very low/debatable whether such a bar existed at all). Fortunately, society is far less kind to this man today, and with good reason. We see them for what they are. As a writer, I want to create conflict in matters of the heart. My debut novel The Freedom Clause is about a young British couple, Dominic and Daphne, who open up their marriage for one night a year over a period of five years. Daphne follows the rules around this arrangement carefully, respectfully, whereas Dominic does the opposite, the freedom clause only encouraging his worst qualities to surface. In this reading list, the male love interests have toyed with and broken the hearts of their female counterparts. Once known as the Byronic hero, these men are fuckbois and they've reigned supreme in literature, and in real life, for centuries. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman Buy On Bookshop.org Support Local Bookstores Nathaniel P in Adelle Waldman's The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P This book so perfectly captures a particular type of man—intelligent, literary, seemingly progressive but deeply shallow—that it might be depressing to read if its tone wasn't so sharp and witty. Nathaniel's crimes are mostly committed in his head. He harbors unkind thoughts and feelings towards women, believing them: “capable of rational thought; they just didn't appear to be as interested in it.” And he enjoys a sense of superiority over women: “it was not always […]
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