Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Damage, by Josephine Hart

DamageHe would have been better off dead.  It would be better that he died, than the reality of what he did.  How could he do this to his wife, to his son?  What was it about Anna that was so appealing, intoxicating, that made him throw away his carefully planned, successful life, so late in the game, for a woman so wild, so dangerous, and so obviously damaged?  See the impact of infidelity on one man's life.

I honestly had no idea, until after I read this, that this book was so successful, it was made into a movie.  I felt like I did not get invited to the party.  I was obviously missing something. The book was not a bad book, just for me, it felt false somehow.

The story is written in first person narrative, from the perspective of the adulterous man, whose name we do not learn.  Yet, throughout the book, I am painfully aware of his character being written by a woman, because he sounds and acts like a woman, while Anna, his love interest, sounds and acts like a man.  There seemed to be a real disconnect there.  Now, to be fair, the story was set in England, so perhaps this is a more European feel that I, as an American reader, can not relate to, but to me, it just seemed like what a female writer thought a man should sound and act like.  In reality, it was more feminine.

Anna's back story also had a disconnect for me, with the character we now saw before us.  Her back story was one quite believable of a woman, but her present character, while intended to seem like a damaged woman, instead just seemed like a lothario.

That being said, I think the story had real potential.  I liken the male character to Humbert Humbert in Lolita, a man drawn to pathetic behavior to chase the fancy of a ridiculous love affair that will never materialize.  Humbert too is a non-masculine character, so perhaps the books work much in the same way.  But I always found Humbert somewhat pitiable, forgivable.  I have no forgiveness for the male in this book.  Yet I am glad to have read his story.

A review copy of this book was provided courtesy of NetGalley.