Review

Great Love Quarrels in Literature

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it seems like there’s a lot to fight about. Or so say Kasia Boddy, Ali Smith and Sarah Wood in their new book, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off: Lovers Quarrels From Anton Chekhov to ZZ Packer. The collection spans the he-said-she-said spectrum, from Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing to Twinkle and Sanjeev in Jhumpa Lahiri’s This Blessed House. Fights range from trivial bickering to full-scale suffering, which Daily Mail reviewer Sam Leith says results in a melancholy collection. “What our anthologists seem to have set out to do, and have accomplished, is to gather stories that evince a sympathetic or a wittily exact sense of the actual mechanics of quarrelling: where it sits in a relationship, how it gets there, what it means, how it can be overcome or accommodated.” he writes.