Thursday, December 19, 2019

Ten top novels about adultery

Douglas Kennedy's new novel is Isabelle in the Afternoon. At the Guardian he tagged his ten favorite "novels on the agonies and ecstasies of the extramarital adventure," including:
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Can you adore your spouse but still have multiple affairs? Why should sex outside love (and the vows of marriage) be considered a breach of all sorts of societal norms? To be compulsively attached to the sex act … is this an addiction or a positive existential choice? These complex moral questions, for which there are no definitive answers, are played out in a Czechoslovakia reeling under Soviet domination at the height of the cold war. Kundera’s ever-dazzling novel is finely attuned to the contradictory interplay of the libido and the quasi-stability of long-term love.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is among John Bargh's ten top books about the unconscious, Amor Towles's six favorite books, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's top ten wartime love stories, and Olen Steinhauer's six favorite books. Lee Child called The Unbearable Lightness of Being "his private pick for the 20th–century novel that will live the longest." John Mullan includes it among ten of the best visits to the lavatory in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue