Quote Of The Day #48
Emmy lives happily with her husband Holman Turner and their five-year-old son Freddy near Convers College in Upstate New York, where Holman is an assistant professor. As the husband is busy with his teaching and research, the wife is left alone, feeling isolated, unfulfilled, and unloved.
Holman is unsympathetic to his wife’s plight and he even dismisses Emmy’s views as feminine nonsense. Emmy seeks friendship among spouses of other professors and becomes friend with Miranda Fenn, the wife of another assistant professor Julian Fenn, whose unorthodox life style and teaching method cause stir in the department. Holman ridicules Julian’s teaching and Miranda’s housekeeping, both fanciful and undisciplined.
Unable to communicate with Holman, Emmy finds sympathetic ears in Will Thomas, who is a music teacher on campus. He has a well known reputation of having affairs with different women, but Emmy is a little desperate and can’t resist his charm.
And as the book proceeds, the plot thickens. A fire breaks out in Julian’s house and a controversy is stirred up on whether he should be given a new teaching contract. Emmy’s full blown affair attracts inevitable suspicion from her husband, who in turns tries to figure out who “he” is and what his wife is doing when he’s not at home…
This is “Love and Friendship” by Alison Lurie, which is not as interesting as “The War Between The Tates”, but still it is a page turner in the beginning 100 pages and in the last 100 pages. Because the book was published in 1962, certain ideas and concepts seem a little dated, but overall it is a very well written story.
There are not as many quotable lines in this book as in her other books, but I’ve compiled several here:
Emmy was twenty seven, and still had, as on the day he married her, the look of a carefully bred and beautifully groomed animal, kept permanently at its peak condition for some high use which has not yet arrived and probably will never arrive. Holman had seen it often on boys and girls of Emmy’s class, though seldom to such a degree or accompanied by so much beauty.
“Go to hell,” Emmy said cheerfully. Since her feelings about her husband had changed, she was most at ease with him when she could insult him in jest during some imitation domestic spat. The joke showed that she did not really mean the insult. Or vice versa. An uneasy equilibrium, but one that she now even sought to provoke. … “I don’t see it.” Emmy realized she was starting to pick a fight with Holman about nothing again, but she couldn’t stop herself.
Holman had seen enough of the world in thirty years to know that when something “real” happened it was likely to be something bad, violent, irrational, destructive. He had escaped this kind of reality by the deliberate effort of climbing further and further up into the clear, bright realm of intellect.
In Art and Love, explanations confuse the reality rather than elucidating it, don’t you agree?
Half competitors, half allies, the three professors watched for the smallest signs of each other’s professional success or failure, yet were unable to take wholehearted pleasure in either event.
Holman firmly believed that if you let the world see your weakness it would trample you…
The real life of romantic love, after its early flights, is nasty, brutish, and short, or so Miranda had found it; it deals in false images and false expectations. Marriage is kinder, but it also lives on lies, little tame ones–one makes the best of the bargain. Only friendship is completely real.
Some people can forgive; some must wait to forget, he had once said; nobody can do both. And she could do neither.
And if nobody knew, it was as if it had never happened, wasn’t it? After all, an experience or emotion which could not be communicated to anyone was meaningless…. She ought to feel better because of this, but she felt worse; it was as if big sections of her life were being crossed out and thrown away.