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The Temptation of Eileen Hughes by Brian Moore

Initially, I was somewhat skeptical about this novel mainly because the plot didn't look too attractive. It sounded like a familiar and perhaps even dated topic- a married man madly in love with a young woman. Love triangle- how much times have I read about it? However, it somehow manages to be really good, the story itself is captivating and emotions described really captured my attention. 

I was very interested in the trio, maybe because just when you think you've figured them out, they turn into something new, making you realize that he wife is not such a harpy as she seems or that Eileen is not so boringly and unconvincingly innocent. It's not just a story about love; it's about something else as well. As much as it is about drama of being in love, it is also about the purpose of life and other questions one may asked oneself...themes like religion and suicide are in there as well.

"The Temptation of Eileen Huges" opens up with three characters: Bernard, Mona and Eileen vacationing in London. This trio stays in focus throughout the novel. The other characters are not analyzed, they are in the background. The only exception would be Eileen's mother- she gets some space and character. Another thing that is in the background is the political climate of the time- incidents like the bombing (IRA) is carelessly mentioned, it doesn't have an impact on the lives of these literal characters. I don’t think that social status is that important here, it’s just something that is described, not something that is commented on- that’s my opinion. The fact that somebody is rich and somebody isn' is just something that is there, something that in the end doesn't matter.

Somehow this novel seems much older than it is. Why is that? If there aren't such things as "jeans” mentioned, I would have a feeling that it had been written a hundred years ago. Only slang I’ve noticed is the one used by one American guy. There is just something old fashion about the writing. It seems dry. I don’t know if that adjective makes sense. How else could I put it? There’s no flare in this writer’s words, no magic. Nevertheless, some lines from this novel are really so fascinating. They are in all the right places. The dialogues are good and they fit the characters' personality. Moreover,the narrative somehow manages to pass from third person to first person effortlessly- hard to notice when and how it happens. 

What I really liked is that by the end of the novel I really sympathized with every member of this strange trio. Maybe there is something universal about suffering because of love. As much as I believe that people suffer mostly because they won't face reality but choose to believe in their own perception about person they happen to fall for- It is still quite tragic...all those feelings and nowhere to channel them, no outfit for that kind of passion... One doesn't quite know what is worse, being in love with someone who doesn't love you or being burdened with guilt because you cannot repay someone's emotions.

How much I did not want to sympathize with Bernard (because I though him selfish) I had to when I've read this:

“And as she lay there on her stomach staring at him through the bushes as though she were a sniper and he her innocent victim, she felt a strange sad empathy for Bernard McAuley. For how terrible it must be to fall in love with someone who was completely out of the question, someone who turned from you in disgust, someone who would never acknowledge one bit of love you felt for them. And there, in the park, watching him, she admitted to herself that he did love her and could not help himself.”


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