Damage

Hart, Josephine

Knopf, 1991

p. 106

Stephen is a conventional Member of Parliament, 50 years old, with a lovely wife Ingrid and a son and a daughter. When his son brings home the girl (Anna) he hopes to marry, Stephen becomes obsessed with her. For the first time in his life, he thought, he really felt something. He contemplates starting an affair with his son’s girl: he thinks he needs courage to sin. What he actually needed was courage not to, given his ferocious obsession: “Was I paying the price of goodness? Of a well-lived life? Of goodness without feeling? Of love without passion? Of children not longed for? Of a career not craved? Sin was the price. Sin. Did I, for once in my life, have the courage for sin?”