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This novel seeks to portray the turbulent times in England just prior to the Second World War. The main couple, a spoiled socialite and a struggling writer, determine that love is not enough to get them through and she agrees to marry a wealthy man so that she doesn't have to give up her lavish lifestyle. Their struggle is a representation of the English obsession with class and status, and the ways in which the war stripped away notions of class elitism and forced people to rely upon more basic human needs and behaviors. The novel also satirizes notions of fame and notoriety, wherein the subject matter of gossip columns become matters, literally, of life and death.
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