"It only meant that he was closer to her when he was close, but (and this was the first time the thought had come to him) maybe farther away than anyone else when he was not close."
If you are looking for a positive, up-beat read, then back away readers, this ain't it. First published in 1934 with a contemporary setting, this novel follows the demise of Julian English, awash with booze, sketchy friends and interesting female characters. Finishing this novel means I've now read 50/100 of the Modern Library 100 best English language novels - woo hoo! It is also listed in Bloom's Western Canon, so I had to check it out.
Caroline English is fascinating, strong, intelligent and yet encumbered by a drunken husband with a penchant for inappropriate social behaviour. Her initial repulsion then attraction to her husband and gives the drunken playboy a sense of legitimacy and her final rejection is the final nail in the coffin.
The story of Al Grecco and the origins of his name made me giggle. It says something amazing about the writing that these characters import a real sense of emotions on the reader. I preferred Butterfield 8 if truth be told, yet this comes a very close second in my estimation. I'm going to re-think my third drink after this one. 5 out of 5 champagne supernovas.