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From Dante to I Love Dick: top 10 books about unrequited love

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Novelist Kirsty Gunn chooses books that explore a very literary kind of longing

In Katherine Mansfield’s exquisite long short story At the Bay, Beryl, a middle-aged woman still fantasising about the young girl she once was and the lovers she could have captured then, stands in a darkened room half-imagining someone is out there in the dark, desiring her. So much of fiction is about desire, a yearning of some kind or another … the love of reading itself a sort of intense affair.

These thoughts and more were whirling around in my mind when I wrote my own novel about unrequited love, Caroline’s Bikini, the story of middle-aged Evan’s great love for his landlady, the desirable but always just out of reach Caroline Beresford.

Related: Caroline’s Bikini by Kirsty Gunn – review

Related: Top 10 lost women's classics

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