Originally written in 1958, there are undoubtedly some parts and outlooks on life and issues in Strangers When We Meet that have not travelled well in the 59 years since it was written, but that doesn’t take away from the story and the overall sadness of the situations portrayed in this book.
Larry Cole has it all; a prize winning career as an architect, his loving wife Eve and two small sons. But Margret Gault, just standing there at the children’s bus stop with her son is the sexiest woman he has ever seen. Something about her catches his eye and his libido. And so begins the affair.
This book is heartbreaking in its clean decisive dissection of an affair. It looks at the fallout from the affair on the innocent parties and the not so innocent. It is a cold and calculated decision to begin the affair based on nothing more than a lust for something that wasn’t right to lust over. It looks at the victim mentality and the predators actions. It looks at the moral rights and wrongs of continuing with such behaviour and the changes that it brings about in the adulterous person and the cruelty of what it does to the sinned against.
This is a powerful book that is filled with wretchedness and misery and yet reads easily and makes you want to turn the page to keep going. It examines the decisions and actions that produced this affair and it offers opportunities to right the wrongs often that are never acted upon. Perhaps the ending is a little too predictable in some regards; in others it is not and is shocking when delivered.
Powerful and wretched, it is still a book well worth reading.