The Adulterer: Richard Wright Book Review

Maybe this book reminds me too much of the publishing industry whence I came, or maybe it reminded me of Ian McEwan’s style of writing and then failed to deliver or maybe I just didn’t like the main character Daniel Fielding but whatever it was this book didn’t do it for me in spite of it’s titillating subject matter.

Daniel Fielding is a middle aged, happily married Toronto based editor who has an affair with a younger colleague on a business trip to London and Frankfurt. What starts out as a fling with a younger woman ends in violent tragedy turning Daniel’s safe life upside down.

What follows is his journey to redeem himself with his wife, daughter and his community. But the predictable emotional trajectory of this kind of story is overshadowed by the violence of the affair’s ending and the public attention it garners. Daniel’s quiet weekend tryst with a younger colleague becomes public fodder and the tragedy of her death overwhelms the moral transgression against his wife and family.

As Daniel seeks to atone to Denise’s family, the spectre of Denise’s death overshadows the betrayal of his wife and daughter.

The more interesting story for me would have been to tell the story from his wife’s point of view. How do you see yourself through this horrific moral maze to redemption and forgiveness? Daniel’s character seems vapid and weak to me. I don’t actually like him and his surprise that his wife can’t somehow forgive him quickly on the basis that he never cheated before in all their year’s of marriage somehow makes him more despicable. Better he had just been an all out cad. But then both of these options would have made this a different book altogether. Anyways, just not my cup of tea. I loved Clara Callan but didn’t really care for this read.

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