More Romantic Love
Warning: Major Spoilers
I finished Absurdistan around Valentine’s Day. How appropriate. After reading the epilogue, one is reminded that among other things, Absurdistan is a book about enduring romantic love; Misha loves New York, and he loves Rouenna.
It is argued that romantic love as we know it is a relatively modern and western notion. Although French troubadours wrote about courtly love, and Shakespeare included romantic love in his plays, the notion of romance as a prelude to marriage started in the late 17th century. At this time, the rise in the middle class with its disposable income allowed for a market of romance novels and magazines. Romance novels, by definition, have conflict and climax, and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. Today, romance novels are the most popular genre of literature in North America, comprising of almost 55% of paperbacks sold in 2004 (according to wiki, my beloved resource).
The romantic ending in Absurdistan in the form of hopes and dreams may be an additional stereotype or satire, both of which saturate the book. However, are we cynics? Is it absurd to think that these two people could live blissfully in domesticity in a row house near 175th street in New York, happily folding socks together? Knowing the romantic inclinations of my fellow bookclubbers, I would guess that we will agree that the ending to this book is emotionally satisfying and optimistic; …in other words, very romantic.