THE BYSTANDER by Albert J. Guerard


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.... A ""writer, artist, translator, hack, gambler, sensualist, fool"" is also the ""spectator, the onlooker at his own ruin"" and here records the fever chart of his affair with Christiane Mondor, with whom he fell in love at 15, and who now 18 years later, is still the object of his luxurious daydream. Antony is living in a cheap pension and is the victim of a vulgar but tantalizing waitress, Christiane, who has obviously known better times, is living alone in a villa where he joins her- and which he assumes to be all that she has left of two marriages and many affairs. There at first they share a quiet domesticity, then a more headlong idyll which is circumscribed by the knowledge that the villa is not hers, but a ""friend's"", who meets her there each year for three weeks. More and more demanding, Antony tries to extend the relationship, but Christiane wants no more of the ""passionate disasters"" of the past. A fabulous winning streak- at Monte Carlo- gives him the hope that he can have something to offer Christiane- but he loses it all, and goes back to his rooming house, a final humiliation and degradation.... A contrast- of ironies, of sentimental illusion and sensual submission, this weakling's self- examination is accomplished without self-pity but with a certain extravagance of mood and montage (Nice, perhaps thirty years ago).

Pub Date: July 28th, 1958
Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.