THE AFFAIR

Colette Freedman

After eighteen years of marriage, Kathy Walker has settled into a pattern of comfortable routines—ferrying her two teenagers between soccer practice and piano lessons, running a film production business with her husband, Robert, and taking care of the beautiful Boston home they share. Then one day, Kathy discovers a suspicious number on her husband’s phone. Six years before, Kathy accused Robert of infidelity—a charge he vehemently denied—and almost destroyed their marriage in the process.

Now Kathy must decide whether to follow her suspicions at the risk of losing everything, or trust the man with whom she’s entwined her past,

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After eighteen years of marriage, Kathy Walker has settled into a pattern of comfortable routines—ferrying her two teenagers between soccer practice and piano lessons, running a film production business with her husband, Robert, and taking care of the beautiful Boston home they share. Then one day, Kathy discovers a suspicious number on her husband’s phone. Six years before, Kathy accused Robert of infidelity—a charge he vehemently denied—and almost destroyed their marriage in the process.

Now Kathy must decide whether to follow her suspicions at the risk of losing everything, or trust the man with whom she’s entwined her past, present, and future. As she grapples with that choice, she is confronted with surprising truths not just about her relationship, but about her friends, family, and her own motivations.

Skillfully crafted and deeply insightful, The Affair sensitively explores the complexities of love and the challenge of ever knowing another person fully, even as we endeavor to understand our own deepest longings.

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  • Kensington Books
  • Paperback
  • January 2013
  • 352 Pages
  • 9780758281005

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About Colette Freedman

Colette Freedman is an internationally produced playwright with over 15 produced plays, including Sister Cities, which was the hit of the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe. She has co written, with international bestselling novelist Jackie Collins, the play Jackie Collins Hollywood Lies. In collaboration with the New York Times bestselling author Michael Scott, she has co-written the thriller The Thirteen Hallows.

Praise

"Playwright Freedman presents a realistic and deft tale of infidelity, miscommunication, and conflicting emotions in her structurally compelling debut novel…In this resonant, enjoyable tale, Freedman demonstrates a keen understanding of relationships, and her formal choices enrich the narrative, allowing readers to sympathize with each character."Publishers Weekly

Discussion Questions

Do you think Kathy violated Robert’s trust by looking in his phone and checking his e-mails? Or do you think her actions were justified? Have you ever violated a loved one’s privacy because you were suspicious?

Kathy notices that Robert has lost weight, tanned himself, and whitened his teeth. Was it her sudden suspicion that made her really see her husband? Do you believe couples get so used to each other that they stop noticing the details?

Kathy says that when she first met Robert they had sex every day. Now, they rarely have it. Do you believe couples have less sex the longer they’ve been together because they’re bored? Tired? Uninspired?

Men often claim they have affairs because they don’t get sex from their wives. Kathy clearly states that she still feels sexy. Do you believe it is a false impression that it is usually men who are denied sex, when in fact it is often women who are sexually frustrated?

Rose tells Kathy, “Men stray. It’s in their nature, whether we like it or not. It goes back to the time of cavemen. . . . Men hunted and women nurtured. Tommy was just . . . hunting.” Today’s media often paints adultery as a defensible misdeed. Do you believe men cheat because they are wired to do so?

Do you agree with Rose’s decision not to confront Tommy? Do you know women like Rose who have stood by quietly as their husbands cheated? What would you do in Rose’s position?

Do you think Maureen, as Kathy’s friend, had a responsibility to tell Kathy about Robert’s affair? Or do you think Maureen’s responsibility as Robert’s secretary should be discretion? If you were in Maureen’s position, what would you do?

At some point during the story, all three characters realize how similar Kathy and Stephanie look. Do you believe Robert’s attraction to Stephanie is independent of Kathy, or tied up in his original feelings for her?

Stephanie is an extremely successful career woman. Do you think her ability to throw work Robert’s way colored his relationship with her? Do you think their relationship would have lasted as long if she had stopped giving him work?

Do you think Stephanie and Robert could make it as a couple? Why do you believe Stephanie fell for Robert?

Do you think, despite his infidelity, Robert is a good father? Do you think he would want to have children with Stephanie?

Where do you see Robert in ten years? Who will he be with? Kathy? Stephanie? Someone else?

How did each of the three main characters contribute to breaking up the marriage? Do you think Kathy was complicit in Robert’s affair? Who do you blame the most?

If you were Kathy, could you forgive Robert? In your opinion, should Kathy take Robert back? Why or why not?

The same story is told from three different perspectives. Do you feel that people interpret things differently primarily due to their gender or due to their fundamental need to hear what they want to hear?

Do you believe it is possible to love more than one person?