The Dutch sea captain, Jacob, narrator and protagonist of the late Hungarian poet-novelist Fust's 1957 work, is a man caught in the paralyzing grip of a implacable obsession. ""My wife's been unfaithful,'' he declares in the opening line, ``this much I have long suspected.'' That fixed idea, whether or not founded on truth, haunts him throughout the book-long interior monologue, set mostly in Paris and London. He himself feels free to engage in some dalliances, but his French wife Lizzy remains fixed in his mind as a treacherous, ``depraved woman,'' a hussy of ``loose'' morals. Attentive readers, meanwhile, are given good reason to believe he is the helpless victim of a delusion. So mesmerized is Jacob that even after Lizzy's death in Barcelona (long after their divorce), he imagines he sees her fleetingly in the street. Her reappearance, he tells himself, gives meaning and purpose to his life``or else why go on living?'' As it turns out, the brooding story is not about his wife, as the title ironically promises, but about his own futile life. (January 1)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991 Release date: 09/01/1991 Genre: Fiction
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