Another Fine Mashup: Why The Heroes of Romantic and Literary Fiction Shouldn’t Live Together

There are many reasons why we shouldn’t live with Unreliable Narrator, Chick-Lit HeroineCop From A Crime NovelCharacter From A Young Adult NovelLiterary Fiction HeroRomantic HeroHistorical Fiction HeroHusband From A Women’s Fiction Novel or Woman From A Historical Period TV Drama. 

But what if some of them ended up living together? What happens to fictional stereotypes, if genres collide?

Recently, we looked at the less than harmonic domestic arrangements between a Crime Novel Cop and a Chick-Lit Heroine, and a Historical Fiction Hero and the protagonist of a YA novel.

So now, dear readers, what would happen if the heroes of romantic and literary fiction were to shack up together?

Why The Heroes of Romantic and Literary Fiction Shouldn't Live Together

It’s midnight. A solitary plastic bag floats gently down a garden path, before settling atop a thicket of dying roses. Literary Hero returns from a solitary wander about the streets of London, having considered the futility of humanity’s efforts to find happiness, and opens the door. 

Romantic Hero has been pacing the hall in a shirt unbuttoned to the waist, waiting for Literary Hero’s return – which is, coincidentally, the only thing which can make Romantic Hero happy. He looks incredible.

Romantic Hero: Darling.

Literary Fiction Hero: Don’t call me that.

RH: Whyever not, my only love?

LFH: You know it reminds me of my mother.

RH: Everything reminds you of your mother. But some day you’ll make a wonderful mother yourself. I know it.

LFH: What?

RH: [cupping Literary Hero’s cheek, blithely unaware that Literary Hero’s flinching] I can see you there, with your shining hair all tumbling down, your belly swollen with my child, smiling at me in the evening sunlight, a haze of love burning from your eyes into mine…

LFH: You think I’m a woman?

RH: I know you’re a woman.

LFH: Why?

RH: Because I secretly love you, and it’s killing me.

LFH: [drawing away defensively] But I must be a man. Everyone knows literary fiction isn’t about women. Stories about women are women’s fiction, regardless of how pretty and obscure the words are.

RH: Unless you were written by a man. Then you could be a rare female protagonist. You know, like your one in Brooklyn. Or thingamabob in The Scarlet Letter. Um, Nathanial Hawthorne.

LFH: Okay, then. I’m a woman. Sounds plausible enough to be true.

RH: Like my love. I’ll die if I can’t have you.

LFH: Eh?

RH: We were meant to be! Even though I frequently treat you badly and give a good impression of hating you at times. You, with your emotionally unavailable mother; me, with my emotionally bankrupt and abusive father. We’re cosmic twins, except totally not in a familial way because that would be gross when it comes to the sex part. But we can heal each other. You’re my angel.

LFH: You know I hate pet names. They’re so derivative.

RH: Hey, that’s me all over.

LFH: I was thinking on my way home tonight.

RH: I’ve been thinking about you all day, darling.

LFH: I had a strangely vivid flashback which covered my entire life to date in just the twenty-two minutes it took me to get from a non-descript albeit lengthily described train station in Walthamstow to our front door.

RH: That happens you a lot. Yesterday you experienced the dread terror of the entire First World War while you popped out for a pint of milk.

LFH: At least I have more than one thing on my mind.

RH: What can I say? You’re a drug to me. I can barely concentrate on maintaining the billions I make from my incredibly vague global business activities. Sometimes when I’m in the middle of a really important meeting with international business persons in a boardroom or wherever, I think of you, and I can’t breathe.

LFH: I know nothing of this money-driven world you inhabit.

RH: Ain’t that the truth. Otherwise you’d be in a crime thriller right now.

Another Fine Mashup Mess: Why The Heroes of Romantic and Literary Fiction Shouldn’t Live Together

LFH: You’re being unusually blunt tonight, I must say. You’re like a – a – a thing which is really blunt. [backing away and sliding down the wall in horror] Oh, my God! You’re actually interfering with my ability to turn everything into a metaphor!

RH: Except that’d be a simile, though, right? You don’t normally make that kind of mistake… Oh my God, you do love me!

LFH: I love only pain.

RH: But I’ve always been consumed by my love for you. Even though I disguise it with every conceivable narrative device, until my dying breath. Or page 176. Whichever comes first.

LFH: Love is meaningless. Like life. Only death has meaning. Along with whichever inanimate object is representing whatever’s going on in my head right now.

RH: Such as?

LFH: Well, for starters, the plastic bag tumbling in the breeze in the introduction was a symbol of the futility of mortality. And the thicket in which it landed represented the traumatic early loss of my childhood innocence.

RH: And how was I supposed to spot that?

LFH: It’s in the Book Club notes at the back. Why have you taken your shirt off?

RH: [rubbing his hand across his collar bone suggestively] Look, this is getting frustrating. Are we going to quench our primal urges in a frenzy of passionate communion resulting in a soldering of souls, or what?

LFH: Well, I do fancy the pants off you. How could I not, with your wildly impressive pecs which are always visible through your designer shirt which is in any event so frequently taken off, and your piercing steel eyes, and your voice of liquid gold, and your incredible hair which is somehow both long and short at the same time?

RH: I agree.

LFH: But sex is so depressing.

RH: Not in my book, baby. You know I’m absolutely amazing in bed, despite never really providing any plausible evidence for it. Anyway, you can regret it later. You regret most things.

LFH: I can’t argue with that.

RH: So let’s make the psychological hangover worth it.

LFH: Can you make me forget myself?

RH: I can do more than that. Give yourself to me, and I’ll give you the flashback of your life.

LFH: You just closed yourself another deal, Mister. I’m just warning you now that I always cry after.

RH: So do I, my love. So do I.

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  45 comments for “Another Fine Mashup: Why The Heroes of Romantic and Literary Fiction Shouldn’t Live Together

  1. August 19, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Confirming with brilliant concision that my decision to give two genres of writing a miss was no mistake.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. August 19, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Brilliant – particularly the bit about women’s fiction being about women!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. August 19, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Your best yet! I was stopped dead laff-gasping (heh! – new word there) at : “Everyone knows literary fiction isn’t about women. Stories about women are women’s fiction, regardless of how pretty and obscure the words are.”
    But then there was this: “You’re actually interfering with my ability to turn everything into a metaphor!
    RH: Except that’d be a simile, though, right? You don’t normally make that kind of mistake… Oh my God, you do love me!”
    Stop, Tara. Just stop. (gasp gasp)

    Liked by 2 people

    • August 19, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      Once I start I can’t stop, Melodie… I might have a problem getting myself started sometimes, but then I’m only in it for the gasps 😛

      And thank you!!

      Like

  4. August 19, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    when agents weren’t biting on lit fiction, i turned my literary fiction (satire) hero into a cop on the diplomatic security beat. pulp dealers took to it right away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 19, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      That’s a good idea, Ben… was it just your character that was satirical, or was the whole thing a satire?

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 19, 2018 at 6:01 pm

        satire through and through… the pretext being a foot fetish in Saudi Arabia presents greater danger than the terrorists who stalk the compound.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. August 19, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Oh, I hope I never meet this couple. What a riot, Tara. Can you imagine if these characters were real people? Thanks for the laugh.

    Liked by 2 people

    • August 19, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      What do you mean, they’re not real people, Diana?! I live with all of them. I have to say it does get a bit melodramatic at times.

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 19, 2018 at 8:21 pm

        I’m a “flatliner” so the drama would drive me over the edge. I’m glad you enjoy it, though – makes for highly entertaining posts. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • August 19, 2018 at 10:06 pm

          Well, I should probably have admitted that they’re all in my head I suppose 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  6. August 19, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. August 19, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    They were real enough to me too. I actually know people like that!
    Hilarious as always, Tara…. Made my day…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. August 19, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Bwhahahaha!!! … bloody brilliant! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 19, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      Thank you, Widdershins. That reminds me, I must have some of these characters kill each other at some point…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. August 19, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    ‘RH: But I’ve always been consumed by my love for you. Even though I disguise it with every conceivable narrative device, until my dying breath. Or page 176. Whichever comes first.’

    BAHAHAHAHA THIS IS SO TRUE IT HURTS

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 19, 2018 at 10:45 pm

      I’ve lost count of the number of times it’s happened to me, Ness, that’s all I can say. It was page 132 once, but that boyfriend had a woeful lack of backstory…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. August 19, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    There. Bugger it. I’m back. Now what did you say? I’d better read the dammed post I suppose. Do I have to wear a leotard?

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 19, 2018 at 11:47 pm

      Christ, Geoff, no. Leotards are SOOOOO 2017. Everyone’s wearing plastic bags now. Plus, nobody’s read a blog post in months. Not since that Insta story about congested Chihuahuas. Where have you BEEN?!

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 20, 2018 at 12:04 am

        God, really? Thank heavens you are so much the arbiter of good taste and fashion nous. I’ve been mainlining Lycra for the last eighteen months – well, obviously not during lent or when there’s a dumb in the President – but I now understand why I’ve been barred from waxing my gerbil at the Thrust and Parry Whist Drive. Thank you Your Guruship

        Liked by 1 person

        • August 20, 2018 at 8:08 am

          Aaaaand ‘when there’s a dumb in the President’ is phrase of the week. And it’s only Monday. How very splendid. I like you.

          Like

  11. August 20, 2018 at 9:51 am

    “Yesterday you experienced the dread terror of the entire First World War while you popped out for a pint of milk.” I’m still laughing 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. August 20, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    As an unreliable narrator myself, I have always fancied Emma Woodhouse. I think that combination would present endless opportunities to confound the unwary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 20, 2018 at 11:11 pm

      There’s only one small problem with that, John. Nobody’s unwary anymore. You can’t put your nose outside the door without meeting a pile of warys these days. But I’ll keep an eye out.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. August 20, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    “I’ll give you the flashback of your life.” is not the sort of thing one would expect after a bout of rumpy pumpy. Your characters are taking all this too seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 20, 2018 at 11:12 pm

      Well you wouldn’t expect me to make LIGHT of it, Conor, would you? The very thought! You know, sometimes I think you’re not living in the real world atall.

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 20, 2018 at 11:16 pm

        I’m not. Anybody who uses the expression “rumpy pumpy” is obviously living in a different decade, if not eon. Welcome to my 1950s.

        Liked by 1 person

        • August 21, 2018 at 12:09 pm

          Hmmmm. You have to be careful about that too, though. There are so many retro revivals these days that you turn your back for 2 seconds and it’s 1940…

          Liked by 1 person

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