Books like Damage


2010, Josephine Hart


Damage is a 1991 novel by Josephine Hart about a British politician who, in the prime of life, causes his own downfall through an inappropriate relationship. It was adapted into a film of the same title by Louis Malle in 1992, as well as into an opera (called Damage, an opera in seven meals) by Greek composer Kharálampos Goyós in 2004. A 2022 adaptation is currently in development as a three-part limited series for Netflix.

The first person narrator of the novel is an unnamed medical doctor turned politician (called Dr Stephen Fleming in the Louis Malle film) whose promotion from Member of Parliament (MP) to cabinet member is imminent. Just then the MP is casually introduced to his grown-up son's enigmatic girlfriend Anna and helplessly falls for her. For as long as it lasts, Martyn, his son, has no idea that his father is having an extramarital affair with his girlfriend (and later fiancée), and Anna does not seem to mind being a young man's partner and simultaneously his father's lover and object of desire. The MP enjoys a brief period of sexual bliss, meeting Anna in various European cities and having sex with her in unlikely places. Eventually, she buys them a small flat in central London where they meet on a regular basis.

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