I have no sympathy for either Ben or Beth.
I find their attitudes so immature even though they are supposed to be parents of two children. Beth is moody and snaps at the very small provocation just because she didn’t get to publish her dream book. There are more problems in life than that. Her reaction is to blame her husband for turning her into this woman as if she were an idiot and had no say in her decisions. Then she starts an affair with a man who apparently she claimed to despise. Yet, it is the man I suspected, and Ben realises the truth when he brings to the party he and Beth go a bottle of wine of the kind Beth brought home and claimed she had bought from their usual shop. Ben learnt that this wine is a limited edition and is not sold in most of the spirit shops.
Ben is not better than his wife. I feel for him because he is hurt by his wife’s adultery, but is it because he loves her for real? Or is it because he feels this is another failure and a blow to his manly pride? When he realises who his wife’s lover is, he behaves outrageously at the party, calling one of his wife’s friends meatloaf, which starts a fight with her husband. Naturally, Beth left at that moment. I find Ben’s attitude so immature as well. Why doesn’t he have the guts to go and talk to his wife as adults do? What kind of marriage is this when they don’t talk to each other? Were they just together for the sex? It seems that way to me.
Ben stays at the Hartleys’ that night, and when he wakes up, Bill Hartley tells him that Beth calls and she’s taken the children to her sister Lucy’s. So things are really bad for them. Why can’t they solve their marital problems by talking instead of picking fights, sleeping with other people, and fleeing from the very problem? Silly people. This is quite depressing, to be honest. The book is interesting, but not very cheerful. I am not saying I don’t like it, because I do, but I hope that there is some light in this very dark novel.