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  #41  
Old 04-09-2011, 04:32 AM
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"Gloomy Sunday" (1999) (Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod).

From imdb: "Budapest in the thirties. The restaurant owner Laszlo hires the pianist András to play in his restaurant. Both men fall in love with the beautiful waitress Ilona who inspires András to his only composition. His song of Gloomy Sunday is, at first, loved and then feared, for its melancholic melody triggers off a chain of suicides. The fragile balance of the erotic ménage ŕ trois is sent off kilter when the German Hans goes and falls in love with Ilona as well. "

There is a wonderful scene in which the woman is out with one of the two men, and the other man sees them together. She kisses each of them in turn, and from then on they just accept that they both love her and she loves both of them.

Also contains one of the best subtitle errors I have ever seen: "Clam yourself!"
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  #42  
Old 04-19-2011, 05:11 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
One author I find really woman/alternative sexuality/gender/poly friendly is John Irving. One of his early novels focuses on swingers and how their relationship turns from swinging to a quad with some unforeseen consequences. Both Hotel New Hampshire and Cider House Rules are at least poly-friendly.
I’ve been thinking about this [polyamory or poly-friendly in the books of John Irving] for a few days (since reading your comment) and frankly I’m rather doubtful. I’m a fan of Irving’s, I read as many of his books as I can get my hands on (most of them more than once) and there’s only one I didn’t like (in fact, I thought it stank!) – his first novel entitled “Setting Free The Bears”.

John Irving is a writer who champions causes, ideas, and “marginal” groups and – I think – helps to make them more palatable, more acceptable, to his public. Several themes that he has taken up in one book reappear in later ones. (There’s a whole table of recurring themes on his wikipedia page - all of his books feature writers, all but 2 feature fatal accidents, all but [the same] 2 feature an absent parent…) An example is “a woman’s right to choose” / the idea that abortion is (in some cases) the best possible option. [Curiously, this theme isn’t listed in that wikipedia table.] This appeared in several books before being made one of the main pillars of “The Cider House Rules”. He has been sympathetic to homosexuality, incest (“The Hotel New Hampshire”), transexuality (“The World According To Garp”, “A Son Of The Circus”), and asexuality (again “Garp” – Garp’s mother has sex one time... because she wants to get pregnant – and the narrator in “A Prayer For Owen Meany”), single mothers (“Garp” and others)... and I’m thankful to him for challenging people’s prejudices.

But polyamory? Does he ever champion polyamory (even implicitly)? If we understand polyamory to necessitate the acceptance of your lover’s right to form meaningful, important loving relationships (including sexual ones if they so wish) with others, I – personally – find little evidence of this in Irving’s novels (the ones that I’ve read). Can you give me specific examples?

Garp’s wife has an affair with a younger man, but he asks her to end it and she does.
In the first part of the book, “A Widow For One Year”, (this early part was made into the film “The Door In The Floor”), the famous author’s wife has an affair with his gofer. She abandons them both (and her young daughter, the title character of the book).
I seem to remember that in “Setting Free The Bears” (a book I have no intention of ever reading again), the two main characters are interested in the same chambermaid (or one just pretends to be, to disguise his closet homosexuality?)... but one’s jealousy (he’s in love with the other) drives him to suicide.
In “A Prayer For Owen Meany”, Meany certainly accepts Hester’s right to a free sexuality, but Hester treats other men as “use and throw away”: the only meaningful sexual relationship she has is with Meany.
In “The Cider House Rules” – which you mention – two of the main characters start a relationship after they believe that her fiancé is dead. She gets pregnant and when the fiancé turns up alive (but in a wheelchair) the other two feel guilty about their relationship and end it. They pretend that their child is adopted. (Which gentle, protective lie the fiancé – later husband – sees through... and implicitly forgives. He’s a nice guy – which is one of the reasons that the other two feel so guilty about their “cheating”.)

I only read “The Hotel New Hampshire” – which you give as an example - one time (I’d like to read it again), many years ago, at a time when I wasn’t looking for examples of polyamory in literature, so I can’t be sure of that one.
I’ve also read “The Fourth Hand”, “A Son Of The Circus”, but can’t recall polyamory in any of them. Perhaps I overlooked it?

Irving’s cases of “cheating” usually end in disaster and heartache. He certainly doesn’t condemn, he generally shows compassion for his characters’ reasons for cheating (he’s sympathetic and understanding about the wife’s and the gofer’s cheating, but the famous writer is presented as a philandering, self-worshipping arsehole who uses people – and takes pleasure in humiliating them), and perhaps he’s gently hinting: “Wouldn’t we all be happier if jealousy and possessiveness didn’t exist?!” But I can’t recall any examples of polyamory being actively presented as a positive thing.

[I must admit that my reading depends on libraries and finding second-hand books, while living in a non-English-speaking country. (Some books I read in translations.) Perhaps Irving has been working towards expousing polyamory and has already reached doing so in later books that I haven’t read yet. In which case I’d be glad to hear it.]
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Back to the fantasy-land: Ursula le Guinn, specifically her novels on the planet of O and their strange marriage customs (quad hilarity ensues).
As for LeGuin: certainly one of the very best sci-fi writers of all time. I’m a huge fan. I also read anything of hers I can get my hands on. But again, haven’t got my hands on as much as I’d like. Which novels are set on the planet O?
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- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
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- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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  #43  
Old 04-19-2011, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
I’ve been thinking about this [polyamory or poly-friendly in the books of John Irving] for a few days (since reading your comment) and frankly I’m rather doubtful. I’m a fan of Irving’s, I read as many of his books as I can get my hands on (most of them more than once) and there’s only one I didn’t like (in fact, I thought it stank!) – his first novel entitled “Setting Free The Bears”.
I didn't like it either. The swinger novella is called The 158-Pound Marriage and has been published in his Three Complete Novels collection alongside the SFtB.

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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
In “The Cider House Rules” – which you mention – two of the main characters start a relationship after they believe that her fiancé is dead. She gets pregnant and when the fiancé turns up alive (but in a wheelchair) the other two feel guilty about their relationship and end it. They pretend that their child is adopted. (Which gentle, protective lie the fiancé – later husband – sees through... and implicitly forgives. He’s a nice guy – which is one of the reasons that the other two feel so guilty about their “cheating”.)
Yep, poly-friendly or poly-sympathetic would describe Cider House better. As I read it, these two have a love relationship that begins before and lasts beyond the sexual aspect of it while the woman continues to love her husband, so I was thinking polyamory more as an orientation than as an actual practice.

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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
I only read “The Hotel New Hampshire” – which you give as an example - one time (I’d like to read it again), many years ago, at a time when I wasn’t looking for examples of polyamory in literature, so I can’t be sure of that one.
Again, I love it how this book emphasizes how you can have multiple loving connections that (might) have a sexual aspect that is sort of secondary. The main character and his sister share a female partner who begins with sis and ends up with the bro, and the two bring up the child that is biologically his sister's and her new old boyfriend's. So there is a definite poly family feel to it, although the sexual connections don't happen simultaneously.

So yes, poly-sympathetic rather than actually about polyamory in practice. Silly enough but I feel that both HNH and CHR are such excellent pieces of literature that I don't want to read anything else by Irving for the fear of it being less than what I expected. I did enjoy the World According to Garp and found the early three novels interesting, but haven't had the nerve to read anything written after Cider House Rules.

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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight View Post
But again, haven’t got my hands on as much as I’d like. Which novels are set on the planet O?
Sorry, short-stories. The two I have read can be found in the short-story collection Birthday of the World. I'm quoting her from the foreword to the collection;

"In the title story of the collection A Fisherman of the Inland Sea, I invented some social rules for the people of the world called O, which is quite near Hain, as worlds go. The world, as usual, seemed to be something I just found myself on and had to explore; but I did spend genuine thought, respectable, systematic thought, on the marriage and kinship customs of the people of O. I drew charts, with male and female symbols, and lines with arrows, very scientific. I needed those charts. I kept getting confused. The blessed editor of the magazine in which the story first appeared saved me from a horrible blunder, worse than incest. I had gotten my moieties mixed up. She caught it, we fixed it.

Since it took a while to work out these complexities, it may be mere conservation of energy that has brought me back twice to O; but I think it's because I like it. I like thinking about marrying three other people only two of whom you can have sex with (one of each gender but both of the other moiety). I like thinking about complex social relationships which both produce and frustrate highly charged emotional relationships.

In this sense, you could say that "Unchosen Love" and "Mountain Ways" are comedies of manners, odd as that may sound to those who think science fiction is written ray-gun in hand. The society of O is different from ours here now, but not very much more different than that of Jane Austen's England; perhaps less different than that of The Tale of Genji."

(The title novella of The Birthday of the World is magnificent too, and also features a society where non-monogamy is the norm.)
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  #44  
Old 04-20-2011, 05:05 PM
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I do NOT want to high-jack this thread into an Irving/LeGuin love-feast, so I hope that this will be my last comment here about them.
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Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
Silly enough but I feel that both HNH and CHR are such excellent pieces of literature that I don't want to read anything else by Irving for the fear of it being less than what I expected. I did enjoy the World According to Garp and found the early three novels interesting, but haven't had the nerve to read anything written after Cider House Rules.
I think that - aside from that awful first novel, “Setting Free The Bears” – you can read anything by Irving without fear of being disappointed. [I haven’t read the 2nd or 3rd, but apparently you have.] I myself was rather leery about 2 of the main themes in “A Prayer For Owen Meany” (religion and the military), but I’ve read it at least 3 times now and it never fails to bring a lump to the throat and moisture (at the very least) to the eyes. Irving has a talent for helping us to overcome our prejudices and hasty assumptions. He presents his characters as real 3D human beings, and even when we disapprove of their actions, he makes us understand – even in the case of the philandering arsehole of “A Widow For One Year” – their reasons for those actions.

Which is why, if he ever did champion the cause of polyamory, he’d be an excellent ally in making the concept acceptable to the general public.
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Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn View Post
Sorry, short-stories. The two I have read can be found in the short-story collection Birthday of the World.
Ah, yes! We mustn’t forget the quality of LeGuin’s short story writing. One of her short stories once had me literally trembling with paranoia and I was afraid to go to bed… but anxious to fall asleep in order to escape from thinking too much of the implications of that story. And "The Wife's Story" from the collection “The Compass Rose” is one of the best examples that I’ve ever read of a story's looking at a well-worked theme from a totally different perspective. (The writing is so good and the twist is so unexpected, that I would be giving the game away if I said anything more than: "Read it, it's GREAT!")

Although it’s been decades since I read “The Dispossessed”, I’m sure that the anarchist revolutionaries on the moon Anarres were very poly-friendly (way ahead - as with much of LeGuin's literature - of their time).
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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  #45  
Old 04-26-2011, 03:02 AM
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Here's a very well done documentary from '04:

Three of Hearts: A Postmodern Family

You can watch a trailer for it there.
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  #46  
Old 04-26-2011, 07:35 AM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Here's a very well done documentary from '04:

Three of Hearts: A Postmodern Family

You can watch a trailer for it there.
This trailer looks very cute. Thanks for sharing it!
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  #47  
Old 02-25-2012, 12:09 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Hahaha, a very 80s video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuULcaAypnA

I've been trying to tell you -
I've been putting it off, putting it off.
Can't wait any longer.
You've been good to me
And that only makes it harder
To say what I gotta say.

You gotta know I didn't plan it.
It was the last thing on my mind.
How can you love two people at the same time?
Oooh, oooh!
Now I don't wanna lose you
But I can't give him up!

I know it's unconventional,
Radical but practical -
Why can't the three of us live together?
It's a culture shock
But it's the only hope we've got!
Tell me, why can't the three of us live together?

If I could go back and undo it,
If I had a time machine,
I'd make it unhappen like a bad dream.

But honey, you gotta know, I didn't plan it.
It was the last thing on my mind.
How can you love two people at the same time?
Oooh, oooh!
Now I don't wanna lose you
But I can't give him up!

I know it's unconventional,
Radical but practical.
Why can't the three of us live together?
It's a culture shock
But it's the only hope we've got!
So tell me, why can't the three of us live together?

You're not taking this too well -
It's out of the question,
I can tell.
It's not gonna work, is it?

Oh, I know it's unconventional,
It's radical but practical.
I don't want to lose you.
No, but I'm not gonna give him up! No!
It's a culture shock
But it's the only hope we've got!
Tell me, why can't the three of us live together?

–Olivia Newton John, Culture Shock
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Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me. ~Bryan Ferry
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Last edited by nycindie; 02-25-2012 at 12:29 PM.
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  #48  
Old 04-26-2012, 12:02 PM
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Oh My Lover by PJ Harvey
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  #49  
Old 10-31-2013, 03:05 AM
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Hecate Hecate is offline
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I hope no one minds if I just pop this "reply" in here - I can't add anything, but I'm not sure how to watch threads otherwise. ^^;;

I'm not sure if The Weakness in Me - Joan Armatrading really counts or not. What do you guys think? It almost seems a bit more about infidelity/temptation than poly. :\
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  #50  
Old 10-31-2013, 08:20 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I hope no one minds if I just pop this "reply" in here - I can't add anything, but I'm not sure how to watch threads otherwise. ^^;;

I'm not sure if The Weakness in Me - Joan Armatrading really counts or not. What do you guys think? It almost seems a bit more about infidelity/temptation than poly. :\
At the top of the thread, click "thread tools" and then "subscribe".
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