‘It destroyed me, in a good way’: the best books about modern romance | Books

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Equal parts academic and personal, The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson is a study of gender, motherhood, queer theory, and the vessels we all become through love and damage. The descriptions of falling in love in this book destroyed me, in a good way.

For a similarly brutal and perspicacious take on bodies and love, seek out novelist Jenn Ashworth’s first non-fiction book, Notes Made While Falling, published by Goldsmiths Press this October. Both of these works experiment with linear narratives, revealing – on a small scale in their sentences and in the bigger form of their arcs – their authors’ desire to take the female/queer love story away from patriarchal structures.

I just finished Jade Sharma’s novel Problems, and I can’t believe more people aren’t raving about it. Maya has a husband, a lover and a raging heroin addiction. Just your classic love triangle. It’s not the kind of redemption story you might expect and really cracks open the daily inner monologue of a smart woman doing dumb things. Stretching and pinning a marriage wide open, Sharma writes with a fearless rigour. Shades of Jennifer Egan and Katherine Heiny abound in this dark and raucous debut – but the style is so fresh it makes even the word modern seem old.

The film adaptation of Emma Jane Unsworth’s novel Animals will be released in the UK later this year.

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