Books: Bittersweet Sorrows

Their relationships came apart. Now two writers have put together disquieting looks at their splits

If you are someone who believes that the relationship narrative is central to much of great literature, then you, gentle reader, are suddenly spoiled for choice. In the unhappy-families category, autobiographical division, British novelist and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi bares all about his decision to leave his partner in the fictional Intimacy (Scribner; 118 pages; $16), while New York City journalist John Taylor skips the novelizing but tells a strikingly similar story in Falling: The Story of One Marriage (Random House; 225 pages; $22.95).

Both authors offer elegantly literary tales of disintegration and the irretrievable alienation of affection, putting their relationships...

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