A very long time ago, about two days before Boy One was born, I finished a book by Louis de Bernieres. It was called Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and it made me cry. Not just a slight dampness, but proper snotters and heaves. A pile of soggy tissues balanced on my belly bawling.
Normally, I’m not really much of a cryer (Les Mis, Miss Saigon and Bridges of Madison County, excluded) so I put it down to my hormones and the fact that, evidenced by the fact I couldn’t see my feet, things were about to change.
Last month, nearly 19 years later, I gave LdB another spin in the form of The Dust That Falls From Dreams. And, blow me, if he didn’t do it again. I couldn’t blame hormones for the snot fest that went on in my kitchen on a perfectly ordinary Tuesday evening. What LdB does so beautifully is express the exquisite tragedy of people who let chances pass them by. Days unseized, if you like.
For me, that living tragedy of regret is so much more painful than any fictional death. Is the same true of real life? I’ve no idea, it’s just one of those things I think about when I should be remembering who needs to get picked up from Scout and when the car needs serviced.
Alongside the two by de Bernieres, here are my other suggestions for a library of lachrymosity:
The Fault in Our Stars – John Green : Well dying teenagers will do that to a person.
The Light Between Oceans – ML Stedman : Miscarriage and the madness of the baby-hunger that follows.
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks : Ye gads, but war is horrible.
A Prayer For Owen Meany – John Irvine : I loved Owen, I wish I’d had a friend like him.
The Last Act of Love – Cathy Rentzenbrink : True story, this one. Spoiler – the brother doesn’t make it.
After You’d Gone – Maggie O’Farrell : Just beautiful.
Which books made you cry?