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Did your heart get broken? These novels will help you to heal it

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When your heart is torn to pieces, you can use anything to ease the pain. A good novel, for instance. These novels will help you to get up again.

The best is yet to come

What if you guys had stayed together? If your heart is broken, the question probably goes through your head ten, twenty or hundreds of times a day. In ‘Stoner’ by John Williams, the answer to the question isn’t romantic or idyllic. Stoner doesn’t really love the woman he marries, and life in general doesn’t make him feel all that much – until he falls in love head over heels with another woman. In other words: you never know what’s ahead of you, the best is yet to come.

John Williams, Stoner   

This is how you would like to experience love too

He’s a bit of a douchebag, Yunior from ‘This is how you lose her’. Especially when it comes to handling the women in his life – Love of his Life after Love of his Life. And yet somehow, you never really start to dislike him. Perhaps that’s because his airy outlook on life makes us a bit jealous too (and because, in the end, he knows he should do better).

Junot Diaz, This is how you lose her

What’s going on inside your head?

What’s going on inside your head when you’re morning a lost love? Writer CS Lewis (you probably know his children’s books The Chronicles of Narnia, or the films) lost his love ‘H.’ after only three years of marriage. He’s very honest about his grief, and also about his anger towards God (Lewis is a very faithful man), who took her away from him. In the end, he chooses to be thankful for the love they had.

CS Lewis, A Grief Observed

Breakups can be funny too

Few writers can make you laugh and cry as much as Nick Hornby. If you’ve read one of his books, no doubt, you’ll want to read all of them. High Fidelity is a classic, about music geek Rob who tries to grasp his life by making lists. One of his list contains of ‘the five most memorable breakups’. It’s witty, true and touching. ‘I’m very good at the past. It’s the present I can’t understand.’

Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

This book about grief will get under your skin

Being lovesick is like mourning: mourning a person who is alive, but no longer in your life; mourning a future that will no longer come true. One of the most beautiful books about love and grief is The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. She reports about the first year after the love of her life passed away, with whom she had shared forty years. Writing the book, to her, was a way of keeping him with her – even though she knows she will have to let him go.

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

Comforting: you’re not the only one feeling lost

It’s nice to read about other people’s experiences with matters of love and life. That’s why Tiny Little Things by Cheryl Strayed is such a delightful book: it’s filled with recognizable questions about how-on-earth-to-go-on-now (after adultery, after a breakup, after loss). Cheryl’s answers are worth your while, because they are genuine and personal, often funny and touching, all at the same time.

Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Little Things

Possibly the most touching book of the century

There’s not a sentimental sentence to be found in The Sense of an Ending, and yet it is one of the most touching books written in the last fifteen years. When one of Tony Webster’s college pals appears in his life, he has to face what he made of his life. What kind of person was he, in his love life and friendships, and who has he become? If you feel like watching a movie rather than reading, see the beautiful film. It’s just as witty, subtle and comforting.

Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

The classic: devastating love in the Victorian age

‘Heaaaaathcliiiiiiff…’ You probably know Kate Bush’s big hit single Wuthering Heights, based on Emily Brontë’s book. The novel is the story of the destructive love between Catherine and Heathcliff, that doesn’t end well. The book, situated in the Victorian age (back then it was very controversial), is still one of the ultimate English classics.

Text: Dorien Vrieling - Photo: Thought Catalog