Drowning Peopleby Richard Mason
With a startling confession of murder, the narrator of The Drowning People draws the reader into a mesmerizing tale of love, violent betrayal, and bitter revenge. From the moment he first spots young, beautiful Ella Marcourt on a beach in Hyde Park, twenty-two-year-old James Farrell is caught in the enveloping vise of first love. At their second encounter, he learns… See more details below
With a startling confession of murder, the narrator of The Drowning People draws the reader into a mesmerizing tale of love, violent betrayal, and bitter revenge. From the moment he first spots young, beautiful Ella Marcourt on a beach in Hyde Park, twenty-two-year-old James Farrell is caught in the enveloping vise of first love. At their second encounter, he learns of her engagement to another; but, undeterred, he daydreams of rescuing her from the expectations of family and upper-class British society. When the two of them embark on a passionate affair, the intoxicating intimacy of their stolen moments together convinces them that nothing and no one else matters, that the intensity of their love can justify all their actions and guarantee their happiness. But they are swept along by a force they cannot control. In the ultimate test of loyalty, Ella forces James to betray his best friend; and a chain of events is set off which leads inexorably to a violent and tragic end.
The New York Times Book Review
- Random House of Canada, Limited
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 4.18(w) x 6.72(h) x 0.99(d)
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My wife of more than forty-five years shot herself yesterday afternoon.
At least that is what the police assume, and I am playing the part of grieving widower with enthusiasm and success, Life with Sarah has schooled me in self-deception, which I find as she did to be an excellent training in the deceiving of others. Of course, I know she did nothing of the kind. My wife was far too sane, far too rooted in the present to think of harming herself. In my opinion she never gave a thought to what she had done. She was incapable of guilt.
It was I who killed her.
And my reasons were not those you might expect. We were not unhappily married, you see; far from it. Sarah was until yesterday an excellent and loving wife, for she was conscientious, in some respects, to her core. It's funny that, isn't it? How completely contrasting standards can coexists in a person without seeming to trouble them. My wife was, at least outwardly, never anything but dutiful, correct, serene. 'She gave of herself tirelessly in the true service of this island and its people"; that's what the chaplain will say of her when the time comes; and he will be right. Sarah had many virtues, chief amongst which was an unflinching sense of duty made graceful by serene execution. That is what she will be remembered for. And her serenity was not only for herself: she had a way of making the lives of those around her serene also serene, ordered, and secure. It was security on her terms, of course; but I would have welcomed it on anybody's terms when I married her, and that has held true over forty-five years.
If you knew me, you wouldn't think me at all the murdering type. Indeed I don't consider myself a violent man, and I don't suppose that my having killed Sarah will change that. I have learned my faults over seventy years on this earth, and violence physical, at least is not among them. I killed my wife because justice demanded it; and by killing her I have at last seen a sort of justice reopen. My obsession with sin and punishment, laid to rest so imperfectly so long ago, is returning. I find myself wondering what right I had to judge Sarah, and how much more harshly I will be judged for having judged her too; judged her and punished her in a way I have never been judged or punished myself.
It might not have come this; I might never have known. But Sarah's inexorable sense of wifely duty exposed her. If only she'd been slightly less considerate, slightly less conscientious, she might not be dead now. She was organizing a surprise birthday party for my seventieth birthday, you see; not that the arrangements for it could have remained secret for long on this island. Nor did they. I've known that something was afoot for a month or more. And I was touched. But I'm particular about parties. I don't like the tenants invited; and I don't like some of Sarah's more fawningly agreeable friends. So it was understandable that I should want to consult a guest list so that by hinting at least I could have made my wishes known.
I chose last Monday to search her desk because my wife was out, supervising the extension to the ticket office. And quite by chance I found the drawer she has kept it in all these years.
Even now, with her dead and nearly buried, the arrogance of it chills me.
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