AN ADULTERY by Alexander Theroux


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Readers who remember Darconville's Cat (1981)--a word-logged, mean-spirited philippic about an affair gone wrong--may feel Here we go again as they begin here. Theroux's language is now less playful yet no less arch, replacing puns with psychoanalysis--and he's turned its water-cannon on the doomed-from-the-start liaison between painter Christian Ford and a married woman, Ferol Colorado (names which themselves bode ill). Christian teaches in an obscure New Hamsphire college and Ferol works in the gallery where he shows. Their ignition together is instantaneous but very loose-webbed: Christian still sees channing Marina in Boston, and Ferol still lives with her businessman-husband. Even when Ferol leaves husband, she still sees other men. That's the perfidy as far as Christian is concerned--and the book thereafter lacks any balance whatsoever: a mean and misogynic screed about this inconstant bitch, studded with more finicky opinions than you'd think a page would hold--personal tastes, animadversions, and show-offy perceptions: an adolescent novel masquerading as a report from the sexual battle front. The prose is half the time impenetrable ("". . .I secretly felt at bottom she's come to care for any fellow not likely to accept here that she was ready--poised almost--to suffer her fate, not necessarily know it, as if troth were so precious it could not only not be known but had to be guarded by a bodyguard of lies, which is to say. . .""), the rest shallowly clever. Though a reader never gets to see the woman clearly, a forgivable response nevertheless might be: Way to go, Ferol!

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Simon & Schuster