The Love Story Paradox
As I finished writing my debut novel, Lucidity, I had difficulty determining what genre the story
fit into. I was stuck. It certainly didn’t meet the criteria for the traditional romance genre, nor
was it an exact fit for the realm of paranormal. Eventually I was given a bit of advice and it was
determined that Lucidity would be categorized as mainstream fiction containing a love story.
Ah…a love story. Of course. And what exactly is that?
I suppose a love story could be considered a new term for the old tragedy. True to its name, a
love story must contain, well, yes, love. But it is the element of misfortune that sets apart this
unique sub-genre from most romantic stories. A love story doesn’t guarantee a happy ending
and yet, it is the critical component of tragedy that makes it unforgettable.
Life is full of contradictions – the night versus the day, the winter cold versus the summer heat,
femininity in contrast to masculinity. To recognize the opposite is to understand the whole. The
love story paradox is simple. To know love, we must know loss. And we can only experience
loss if we have loved.
Perhaps this is the appeal of the love story – to seek an understanding, a balance –
between idealism and realism. Tragedy enables us to appreciate the entire circle of human
experience…the so-called yin yang of our universe.
Read any love story – Romeo and Juliet, The Bridges of Madison County, The Notebook – and
you will discover the irony in life and death, love and loss, and the darks and lights of life.
But perhaps the real paradox is what we experience as a reader. Aristotle believed that tragedy
leads to catharsis, or a purging of heartbreaking emotions. It is through tragedy that we find
Angela Burke is the author of LUCIDITY and BENEATH the MAYAN MOON. She lives in
Boulder, Colorado and enjoys running, skiing and taking long hikes in the mountains. A former
teacher, she now spends her time building her massage therapy practice, while chasing after her
three great kids and daydreaming up new story ideas.
Angela can be found at http://www.angelaburkebook.com , and on Facebook, Twitter, and Solstice