'Delirium' Author Lauren Oliver Reveals Her Favorite Love Stories
Lauren Oliver's bestselling Delirium trilogy concludes with the recently published "Requiem." Her story of Lena Holloway, a teenager living in a world where love is considered a disease that needs to be cured, has resonated with teen and adult readers alike. Fans of the books might be sad that the series has ended but there's good news: The story has been adapted for a television pilot, starring Emma Roberts in the main role. In honor of the publication of "Requiem," Oliver revealed her favorite literary love stories to Bookish.
Elizabeth Bennett’s and Mr. Darcy’s is probably the most satisfying romance in the history of novels. One word: Pemberley. Wait, actually, another two words: Colin Firth. Jane Austen was a master of using and reinventing the formulas still employed by modern romcoms--mishaps and misunderstandings, messages gone astray, characters too proud to admit their feelings. I think I read this book eight times between my 13th and 14th years of age; the first novel I ever attempted to write was actually a riff a Jane Austen book. If you haven’t read this novel, you’re only hurting yourself.
The title says it all: This book will make you weep. Vivid, epic, and magical, like all of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s work, this novel explores themes of love, fidelity, marriage, and devotion--and tells the story of a man who waits more than half a century to be with the woman he loves. Gorgeous--one of my favorite books of all time. I love the mixture of reality and fantasy--Marquez is a master of elevating the real, and making the world feel more vivid, sensual, and beautiful than it is.
This is actually a novella: a slender volume that takes occurs over the course of a single night but packs an incredible emotional punch. (Warning: not of the happily-ever-after variety.) Over the course of the book, Ian McEwan closely tracks the newly married Edward Mayhew and Florence Ponting, detailing the emotional vibrations that begin to resonate on the night of their honeymoon--and explores how these tensions eventually explode into one irrevocable decision. I always tell aspiring writers to read this book, because the way McEwan alternates fluidly between his character’s experience of the present and memories of the past is masterful, and a perfect lesson about how to make every moment in a novel feel resonant.
This may seem like an unconventional choice; John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel is more typically categorized as paranormal horror than as romance. But, somehow, the relationship between the alienated and badly bullied main character, 12-year-old Oskar, and a centuries-old vampire child named Eli who proves surprisingly sensitive, manages to feel sweet. And you gotta love the Bonnie-and-Clyde ending; when Eli rescues Oskar from his teenage tormentors, it’s hard to feel anything but satisfaction, despite the bloody context of the book’s denouement. "Twilight," move over!
Some people think this book is uneven, especially in its latter half. To me, the story of the young, eager, and socially unschooled Christopher Neman’s pursuit of the lovely, tragic French widow Claire Bellegarde makes for wonderfully thrilling romance--and I love when Henry James dabbles with gothic elements, as he does here and in his seminal "The Turn of the Screw." Interfering relatives, long-buried crimes, snobby French people, and the imminent threat of the convent: this book has it all.
Lauren Oliver is the New York Times and internationally bestselling writer of "Before I Fall" and "Delirium" and is loved by teens and adult fans of cross-over young adult fiction. She is the co-founder of Paper Lantern Lit, the innovative New York boutique literary incubator recently profiled in Fast Company magazine. She holds her MFA in fiction from New York University and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Chicago with a BA in Literature and Philosophy. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.