7 Unlikely Love Stories in Literature

From Electric Lit:

In the early stages of writing Castaway Mountain, I recall the narrative taking shape very slowly. My book is set in a world made of Mumbai’s garbage, one that may seem unreal, but is very much rooted in reality. I had written up to the moment when fires burned on the vast Deonar garbage mountains at the edge of Mumbai in 2016. At the center of this story was Farzana Shaikh, a spirited waste picker who was born at the feet of the towering mountains. She grew up on their slopes, getting singed, her life ravaged in the aftermath of the epic fires, months before she turned 18. I wondered if anyone would read ahead, past the fires. Partway into writing my book, I worried about whether I should stop.

But then, I remembered the young man who had entered Farzana’s life like the shimmering pompadour he styled with his hair—filled with style, light and life. The two had met on the mountain tops, as she sorted through the city’s waste that tumbled out of the garbage truck he rode in. The two had fallen in love, keeping their affair secret, shrouded by the smoke from the fires. Even in the absurd landscape of this vast graveyard of belongings, love found a way.

I wondered if it was the darkness and blight of the garbage mountains that made their love appear to shine particularly bright. It was as if the fires, the opposition of their families, and other hurdles had made their love more unforgettable—like so many love stories I had read and treasured.

. . . .

Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Informed by his experience as a journalist, Marquez writes of a teenage girl bitten by a dog and is said to be possessed by African slave spirits. Hearing the dire prognosis, her wealthy father offers her up for an exorcism at an abbey. The young priest set to perform the exorcism falls in love with her. We see the battle between colonial Catholicism and Latin American folkloric tradition waged on her body, and then the immensely healing power of love.

. . . .

Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Atwood unravels a story about the interweaving and interchanging lives of two Canadian sisters, Laura and Iris Chase. The novel begins with Laura dying in a car accident and Iris revisiting their lives through Laura’s autobiographical novel, Blind Assassin. Their father, an industrialist, married Laura off to save the family fortune. The marriage was predictably an unhappy one and Laura yearned for Alex Thomas, an old flame and a communist sympathizer who was involved in their father’s factory. Amidst the stories of the Chase sisters’ catering to the needs and whims of the men in their lives, are the memories of Alex recounting science fiction tales about a planet called Zyrcon where anything at all can happen.

. . . .

The Remains of The Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

A love so unlikely it may not have existed at all and yet so undying that the main character sets out to find it, and himself, decades later. Working as a butler, Mr. Stevens dutifully spent years holding up the vestiges of a mansion and with it, Britain’s declining post-war power and nobility. Miss Kanton, the housekeeper, waited for Mr. Stevens to tire of his efforts of keeping up with this slipping world and to turn to building a life of his own with her. Was the unarticulated and unexamined self even there? Years later, Stevens leaves on a road trip, in a rapidly transforming Britain, to reclaim himself and a love that had stayed unspoken and nearly unfelt.

Link to the rest at Electric Lit