It's been a long time since anyone's written a great love story, Literary writers are failing to address the subject. I sometimes think that they are more interested in 'writing' than in understanding the human heart – they've lost touch with a fundamental element of what it is to be a writer. I don't really buy into it any more; I go and watch an episode of The Shield or something. I look to drama, TV and film. Literary writers have lost their mojo when it comes to this subject.So says Tim Lott, the president of the Le Prince Maurice Prize for romantic fiction in a piece in The Independent on romantic fiction by Katy Guest who lets us have a list of her own romantic recommendations :
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (1813)
Often copied, never forgotten, Austen's Mr Darcy was the prototypical romantic lead who would raise women's expectations to unrealistic levels ever after.
Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë (1847)
The brooding hero, the tremulous heroine, but perhaps not the happy ending that would make it classic romantic fiction in the Mills & Boon manner.
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (1877)
'Anna Karenina' was praised by Fyodor Dostoevsky as "flawless as a work of art". Not a good Valentine's gift for trainspotters.
For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway (1940)
'For Whom the Bell Tolls' saw a young couple falling in love against the unromantic backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. The earth moved.
Gigi - Colette (1944)
'Gigi' could have fitted perfectly into the Mills & Boon stable, featuring a young Parisienne glossily groomed and then married by a wealthy man.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernières (1993)
This book gave us the lines behind many a modern wedding ceremony: "You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is."
Inconceivable - Ben Elton (1999)
'Inconceivable' was possibly not written with romance in mind, but it fulfils all the criteria, according to the Romantic Novelists' Association.
We Are Now Beginning Our Descent - James Meek (2008)
Last year this became the first winner of the Le Prince Maurice Prize for literary love stories to have been written by a man. "Compellingly authentic," they said – and set in Afghanistan.
East of the Sun - Julia Gregson (2008)
The winner of this week's RNA Romantic Novel of the Year award – "A model of a romance, well written and memorable with a clever plot featuring a lovely heroine and a gorgeous hero."
The Prince's Waitress Wife -Sarah Morgan (2009)
'The Prince's Waitress Wife' is the first in a new series of rugby-inspired romances from Mills & Boon. Moral: enough wild sex can make a man love you.