Helena Verden, a young woman in her late 20s, and Siegmund MacNair, her violin teacher, are in love. But there is more than one obstacle to their happiness. Siegmund is a married man with children and Helena is full of inhibitions. They spend a week together on the Isle of Wight, their passion remaining unrequited. When they return to London, Siegmund faces a deadlock. Tormented by his family's bitter reproaches, he is nonetheless unable to desert them for Helena. His solution to his dilemma turns a woman's longing for love into tragedy.
Lawrence based his novel on the true-life experiences of his friend Helen Corke, as revealed in her diaries.
I have read the author's more famous works and liked them very much. This early work recently became available as an audiobook at a reasonable price, so I indulged myself. The story is unsatisfying because it lacks diversity. Lawrence draws an interesting portrait of a married man of about 40, an artist, who starts an affair with a young woman and joins her for a week's holiday on the Isle of Wight. He is bored with his wife but loves his children and knows that this affair will only lead to his own destruction. Whether he and the woman even consummate their affair is unclear -- something I would not have believed based on Lawrence's other books. The novel merely consists of the details of their holiday, his return to his very angry, resentful family, and his suicide. The character portraits are interesting and the author's language is always arresting, but I missed the elaborate narrative development of Women In Love or Lady Chatterley's Lover and the candid sexual themes.
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