Book summary: The Vice-Consul


The Vice-Consul is a bleak, enigmatic novel. Set in the steamy monsoon heat of Calcutta, it brings together three suffering characters. There is Anne-Marie Stretter, beautiful wife of the French ambassador, seeking the love of younger men as if desperate for a carefree youth she never had. One of those men who falls for her is the former Vice-Consul of Lahore, an awkward, solitary man prone to violent, irrational rages. And there is a mysterious Cambodian beggar woman whose presence in India intrigues the Europeans, just as the woman herself seems drawn to them.

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