The Married Man by Edmund White
Austin Smith, a middle aged American, works out in a Paris gym - an ordinary day, except that he catches the eye of a stranger, Julien, a young French architect with a gleam in his eye. To Austin's amused astonishment, life takes on the colour of romance. As they dash between Bohemian suppers and glittering salons, they deal with comic clashes of cultures, of ages, of temperaments.
But there is sadness in Julien's past and a grim cloud on the horizon. Soon, with increasing desperation, their quest for health and happiness drives them to Rome, Venice, Key West, Montreal and Providence - landscapes soaked with feeling which lead, in the end to the bleak, baking sands of the Sahara where their love is pushed to its ultimate crisis.
'Poignant and challenging... A love story, yet with an ambition and sweep that make it much more than that... subtle, complex, unsparing and profound' Daily Telegraph
Paperback / 320 pages