Tom Williams

Bad Romance

Constance

By

Bloomsbury Circus 244pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

At a 1960s New York drinks party, Constance Schuyler, a young publisher, meets Sidney Klein, a professor of poetry twenty years her senior. Attracted by her fragile beauty – ‘her porcelain limbs and startled eyes and her sudden throaty laughter’ – he woos her with the sort of lines one might expect of a professor rather than a poet: ‘I’m a fascinating thinker and I love you. What’s not to love back?’ They soon marry and she moves into his intimidating apartment, ‘large and dark and full of books’. Theirs is a chilly relationship – they don’t hug; instead, she stands still and allows him to hold her – but Constance soon develops a fondness for Howard, Sidney’s young son from a previous marriage.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,