Monday, November 02, 2009

Think of Troilus

Jealous lovers are more respectable, less ridiculous, than jealous husbands. They are supported by the weight of literature. Betrayed lovers are tragic, never comic. Think of Troilus.


— from The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene.

(I'm only about 50 pages in. The above is from page 17, and I think there's something beautiful and true about the statement.)

This novella is nothing like what I expected. It seems that the story of the affair is recounted in a series of flashbacks, with the cool detachment time allows. It feels absolutely uncomfortably voyeuristic; the narrator's a bit spiteful — we're allowed this glimpse of intimacy without being fully welcomed into it.

There's also a surprising lot about the process of writing in here, the discipline of it, the research and inspiration. The narrator raises the problem of weighting a scene with unspoken meaning, and magically Greene is meanwhile weighting the scene with unspoken meaning.

But I don't know anything about Troilus.
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