Gospel According

Summer in Provence. By the pool with Philip Roth. Deception not one his best,certainly not his longest,but this tale of an adulterous couple has its moments.

“Do you in any corner of your heart,still harbour the illusion that marriage is a love affair?If so that can be the cause of a lot of trouble”

Right on the money. The long term marriage becomes an alliance.a series of relationships-some unsuccessful which either work towards providing a secure domestic base or fail and the marriage fails. For Roth the  evangelist of serial adultery in and out of therapy,marriages are the rocks he sails around and sometimes even bumps into.

“One of the unfair things about adultery,when you compare the lover to the spouse,the lover is never seen in those awful dreary circumstances,arguing about vegetables,or burning the toast,or forgetting to ring up for something”

No the vital ingredient in any  adulterous affair is that it is exciting and not everyday. The thrill of doing something secret, different and fleeting is intoxicating. Until of course it too becomes everyday and then it just becomes a power play. The wonderful feeling of getting away with something,of having one’s cake and eating it,of having a relationship that is devoted only to pleasure. No wonder affairs have caught on. Roth declares that affairs lose their sparkle when “The tyranny of the actual begins.”

But for some and I am one, affairs are too difficult. The secrecy would be beyond me. I would be the stupid one who in all innocence,would tell  Vivien in the belief that my honesty would be rewarded. How can that be?

“With the lover everyday life recedes. Emma Bovary disease. In the woman’s first flush of passion,every lover becomes Rodolphe. The lover who makes her cry to herself, “I have a lover,I have a lover” A kind of permanent seduction,Flaubert calls it”

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