By Hugh Mackay | Buy now
Beautiful cover, right? Still, I dug in not quite sure what to expect. Of course, author Hugh Mackay, one of Australia’s most brilliant social commentators, offers a different perspective on the cliched betrayal genre, with a tale inspired by a real-life story he read about in the British Psychological Society magazine.
The protagonist is forty-something Australian psychologist Tom Harper (reprised from Mackay’s fifth book, Ways of Escape), who has packed himself off to London on a self-imposed exile after a potentially career-ending fling with a patient. He’s obviously a little lost and lonely, when, quite by chance, he strikes up a conversation with London-based academic Sarah Delacour and her mother in a gallery. Sarah and Tom quickly fall into bed and into cohabiting in Sarah’s plush London pad, but their bliss is tinged by Sarah’s increasingly complicated life. Her terminally ill husband is out of the picture, and yet he controls their lives and future in a way Tom finds disturbing – and when he and Sarah are forced to face a huge moral dilemma, he’s suddenly not so sure where her true commitment lies.
This elegantly woven tale explores different kinds of infidelities, including how the choices we make can be betrayals in their own way, denying ourselves the right to be true to what we believe in or how we wish to live. It’s as much about moral corruption in relationships as it is about honouring your own values. For at the end of the day, what else do we have? A decent read.