1. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
A male novelist, single, living a solipsistic existence during the blitz in South London, begins an affair with the wife of a senior civil servant.
He is obsessed with claiming to be his own for Sarah. His jealousy is fuelled by the despair to know he’s probably never going to have a proper life with her. And then there is her entrenched Catholicism.
A brilliantly built novel about how passion can often turn into an obsessive ownership game.
2. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

It could be argued that the modern novel started with the masterpiece of Flaubert, because it stands as the first work of fiction that grappled at its most prosaic with the nightmare of marriage.
Moral propriety by making his not – so bright heroine, whose has married a third-tier provincial doctor,beginning an affair with a military man in town on secondment.
Not only did Flaubert invent the so-called “desperate housewife” genre, but he also spoke a truth that few people then or now want to recognize: breaking out of marriage bonds is often a reaction to boredom.
3. The Easter Parade by Richard Yates

Sure, the 1961 novel Revolutionary Road by Yates remains a postwar American classic. Yet he created another masterpiece of national despair fifteen years later. The Easter Parade follows the sad fate of two sisters unhinged after the divorce of their parents.
Sarah is going to be a sad housewife. Emily makes a disastrous marriage drifts from one bad affair to another, accepts alcoholism quietly.
What Yates beautifully captures in this tightly constructed novel – spanning five decades – is the way in which drifting from one casual fling often with a married man to the next becomes an accumulated articulation of deep inner desperation … and an even deeper malaise at the heart of the country.
4. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

An absolute gem, first published in 1899, now considered a landmark in American literature, although it was then condemned by many as immoral by a supporter of the puritanical status quo.
It is Edna’s story, who married well and is comfortably placed in the bourgeoisie of New Orleans. But the way society has pushed her into the role of adoring spouse and baby provider has begun to question,.
When a young man makes known his romantic yearnings and when another suitor makes a loving move when Edna’s husband is out of town well, it all ends tragically in true 19th-century style.
Chopin defied established proprieties by showing off the stifling conjugal bed the sexual desires of a married woman.
5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

One of the key cornerstones in the world literature canon; a great state-of – the-nation novel dealing with the absolute messiness of the human heart and the way that the biggest mystery in life might just happen to be yourself.
The illicit love affair between two aristos also becomes a sweeping portrait of tsarist Russia and a daring treatise for its time on the charged extramarital carnality.
And there remains a profound statement about how this very human pursuit of happiness is always just that a pursuit.


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