Curious about the profile of a woman on a bench in lower Manhattan, Ed Blake approaches the vaguely familiar woman; that benign interest eventually leads to a consuming relationship that sends his life into a tailspin, damaging his marriage, family, and career. The novel deals with the clandestine involvement, the reluctance to end despite attempts, and the attendant guilt, all without being detected and disrupting the lives of his unaware wife and daughter—at first. While pondering alternatives, tragedy makes the decision for him. Haunted by memories, Ed attempts normalcy in his family life but the affair comes to light. Pressed to explain the reason for the affair, Ed’s failure to offer justification and fixable causes leads to strife, incrimination, and separation. Ed turns to alcohol as consolation and loses his job. Only through the beginning of his family’s forgiveness does he climb out of the self-created abyss.
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