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Weren’t marriages, his marriages, tidal, with one rolling out just before another rolled in? He did not know how to behave, long views pained him, and for once there was no blame for him to assume, as he saw it.
It was his wife who was having the affair, and having it flagrantly, punitively, certainly without remorse.
This draggy novel stands in stark contrast to its many beautiful predecessors, but Mc Ewan is regarded as a major contemporary British novelist, so expect demand on that basis.
He belonged to that class of men – vaguely unprepossessing, often bald, short, fat, clever – who were unaccountably attractive to certain beautiful women.
Or he believed he was, and thinking seemed to make it so.
And it helped that some women believed he was a genius in need of rescue.
That same afternoon she moved her clothes into the guest bedroom. This was what she was doing – and this was when she revealed the identity of her lover, the builder with the sinister name of Rodney Tarpin, seven inches taller and twenty years younger than the cuckold, whose sole reading, according to his boast, back when he was humbly grouting and bevelling for the Beards, was the sports section of a tabloid newspaper.Beard was surprised to find how complicated it was to be the cuckold. Let no one say that this late in life he was immune to fresh experience. His four previous wives, Maisie, Ruth, Eleanor, Karen, who all still took a distant interest in his life, would have been exultant, and he hoped they would not be told.None of his marriages had lasted more than six years and it was an achievement of sorts to have remained childless.But the Michael Beard of this time was a man of narrowed mental condition, anhedonic, monothematic, stricken.His fifth marriage was disintegrating and he should have known how to behave, how to take the long view, how to take the blame.