Gone Girl Marriages—Creeping us out

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Gone Girl (Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck)              Before I Go to Sleep (Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth)

LOOK at them! These gorgeous people with their messed-up marriages—they captivate us. Of course, they're just characters out of BOOKS, who now find themselves writ extra large on screen, but still...

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Click on each cover for a summary.

By our count, at least eight domestic thrillers have hit the shelves since 2011 and 2012—with the  publication of Before I Go to Sleep and Gone Girl.

Considering the immense attention the books have garnered—both book sales and movie rights—it seems we can't get enough. The question is, why?

Why this morbid fascination? All eight books deal with psychopathically CREEPY marriages; surely, their wide appeal taps into some underlying anxiety on our part. And we haven't even taken TV's Wives with Knives into account!

At the very least, the number of books—and their popularity—suggest a new and disturbing attitude toward marriage, which has always been considered the sine qua non of a fulfilling life. Every single person knows far too well that ubiquitous question, "Ever going to get married?"

creepy-marriages-cMaybe it's a suspicion of intimacy, a growing fear that genuine connection is unattainable. All the books reflect an innate distrust of "the other"—indeed, their overarching theme is the impossibility of truly knowing another being, even spouses.

Or perhaps we suspect marriage is no longer up to the task of functioning as a stabilizing or cohesive force in life. Certainly none of the marriages in these books stave off chaos and loneliness. Just the opposite.

But, oh, pshaw! Here we go again, fooling around with mole hills and mountains. As a genre, creepy thrillers have a long history as great entertainment—think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...even Hamlet...or go way back to Oedipus, for that matter. This is probably just one more pop culture phenomenon—like Zombies.

But Dear Reader, it's hard to think all this means NOTHING. After all, isn't literature supposed to be about SOMETHING? (Oh, and the Zombie craze? It's raised similar questions...)

So what do you think? Any ideas?


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