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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 129

"Ind Aff" tells the story of a 25-year-old graduate student and her affair with a 46-year-old married professor called Peter. She is madly in love with Peter and tells him that most of the time that they are together. The couple has spent some time traveling around Europe, enjoying the sights and sounds. The narrator, who is also the student, wants Peter to leave his wife for her, but the professor is not for the idea. In fact, it's a topic that often leads to an argument that never gets resolved. Interestingly, the story ends with the narrator leaving Peter for good at a restaurant in Sarajevo. Before making her decision, the narrator came to the conclusion that she never really loved Peter, and it was only an infatuation.

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Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 587

A twenty-five-year-old unmarried graduate student is on vacation in Yugoslavia with Peter Piper, a married professor of classical history who is her thesis adviser and also her lover. The purpose of the trip is ostensibly to recover from the past year’s “sexual and moral torments” but really to let Peter decide whether to leave his wife of many years for the narrator. They have already visited Serbia and Croatia. They are now in Sarajevo, Bosnia. They plan to go on to Montenegro to swim and lie in the sun. So far, though, they have met with nothing but rain.

The narrator finds—and Peter struggles to see—the water-filled footprints incised in the pavement near the Princip Bridge in Sarajevo where the assassin Gavrilo Princip stood as he fired the shots that killed the Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, in 1914 and thereby triggered World War I. The couple would have preferred to jump into their rented car, drive off somewhere in the countryside, eat a picnic lunch, and make love alfresco, but the unending downpour forces them into an undistinguished restaurant.

While they wait for their wild-boar dinners to arrive, they chat desultorily. Peter complains about the ubiquity of cucumber salad in Yugoslavian restaurants, and the narrator notices—for the first time, apparently—that she has become accustomed to his complaints. When she changes the subject to a more serious matter—whether the archduke’s assassination actually triggered World War I—Peter brusquely states that the war would have occurred even without Princip and returns to extracting pepper pips from his cucumber salad. The narrator persists in trying to get Peter’s attention by declaring her love with “Ind Aff” for him. “Ind Aff,” short for “inordinate affection,” is their private joke. (John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, had used the term in his diary and had made a point of...

(The entire section contains 716 words.)

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