In anticipation, we book clubbers are checking our mailboxes daily to see if our next selection, a Russian novel, has arrived. In the mean time, I am contemplating the notion of romantic love as it’s portrayed in our past two selections. A common theme in both IQ84 and Ready Player One is the sappy relationship between the main characters. In both books, the couples love each other from afar; and after enduring difficult obstacles, hook up passionately. Oozing in sentimentality, we assume they will spend the rest of their lives together. During our discussions, I am a pragmatist among romantics, protesting that in real life, love doesn’t happen that way. I predict these couples will stay together a month or two before the demons they carry surface, leading toward a devastating break-up. Love, I say, is very complicated.
However, I have a confession for my dear book clubbers. That sappy romantic love is how my long-term relationship started in true storybook fashion. We saw each other from afar. It was love at first sight. A bolt of thunder hit us. Under it all, I am a deep romantic.
Of course, in both our novels, escape from reality is also a theme. When we are in the Oasis or IQ84 worlds, we are not sure just how real anything is. I am curious about what daily life would be like for these characters if they stayed together in a real world. Would Tengo change diapers? Who would cook the meals in the Art3mis/Wade household? Would Aomame insist that Tengo get rid of his shabby pants? Would Art3mis argue with Wade if he forgot to take out the trash? For me, the question of “could these couples stay in love? “ is more intriguing than how they fell in love.
We’ll see if the Russians choose to tackle a love theme in our next novel.