Married Man, The
The Married Man by Edmund White
2000 (2001), paperback
Austin is an American furniture scholar living in Paris. He is pushing fifty, loveless, drifting. One day at the gym he meets Julien: French, an architect, much younger and married. Against every expectation, this chance acquaintance matures into profound romance. As the two men dash between bohemian suppers and sophisticated salons, their only impediments are the easily surmountable and comic clashes of culture, age and temperament. Inevitably, however, Julien's past catches up with them. With increasing desperation, in a quest to save health and happiness, they move from the shuttered squares of Venice to sun-drenched Key West, to Montreal in the snow and Providence in the rain. But it is amid the bleak, baking sands of the Sahara that their love is pushed to its ultimate crisis. Haunting and deeply moving,The Married Mancarries the reader along with its protagonists into uncharted emotional territory, over the rim of love and loss. It is Edmund White's finest novel.