Love, Again is really a story within a story. Although it concerns itself mainly with Sarah's unacceptable passion for two younger men, the framework of the novel's action is the production of a biographical play that Sarah has written with Stephen Ellington-Smith, Julie Vairon. (Though Julie is treated like an actual historic figure for the purposes of the novel, she is in fact an invention, a fictional character.) The Julie of Sarah's play was born of mixed-race parentage in Martinique in the late nineteenth century and lived in France until her suicide in mid-life. She is celebrated as much for her several forbidden, tempestuous love affairs with high-born men as she is for her poems, journals, paintings and musical compositions. A prodigiously talented young woman, she defied convention by insisting on independent living, falling into despair only when she felt respectability closing in on her.
It is interesting to speculate why a "sensible" woman like Sarah Durham would be so drawn to a deeply romantic figure like Julie Vairon. Perhaps she was able to live (if only briefly) the kind of unfettered creative and erotic life that Sarah secretly pines for. Adapting the facts of Julie's life into a play which features her haunting musical compositions, Sarah and her collaborator Stephen inadvertently create an alternate world, so powerful that it seems to suck in everyone involved with the production: "What is it about that bloody Julie,"...
(The entire section is 1373 words.)
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