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January 18, 1990
Paul left today at 8 a.m.
We had been married just over 22 years.
The previous evening, we had gone out to eat at a local restaurant, where we drank champagne and reminisced. In a short story which he wrote about that final evening of a marriage, the central characters talk wittily and poignantly about the explorer Richard Burton and the sad, misunderstood wife who burnt his books. The reality was different.
After 22 years, spent across four continents, with two children – Louis and Marcel – in 1990 Anne and Paul Theroux decided to separate.
For that year, Anne– later a couples therapist herself – kept a diary, noting not only her day-to day experiences as a busy freelance journalist and broadcaster, but the contrasts in her feelings between despairing grief and hope for a new future.
With reflections on truth and fiction, and the nature of marriage, The Year of the End offers a unique insight into the unravelling of a relationship and the attempts to rebuild a life.
It’s also a rewarding, triumphant and honest diary/memoir—the wife, so often thinly veiled in her husband’s fiction, tells her story. And the woman, newly released, emerges again: funny, wandering, reflective and, finally, emboldened.Lead title: A previously unheard perspective of the partner of a great writer and a portrait of the end of a marriage, enriched by Anne’s own insights as a couples therapist. A banner year: Explores the major shifts of 1990—the collapse of communism, the invasion of Kuwait, the ousting of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Addictively readable: Better than reading a diary, Anne Theroux takes on the year her marriage ended and the cheerful, or self-conscious, or simply rudimentary entries in her journal and fills the reader in on what was really happening. Emotionally rewarding: Anyone who has been through a break-up —especially after raising a family together—will appreciate the straightforward honesty, along with the twists and turns of emotions as Anne and her husband (the novelist Paul Theroux) waver between staying or parting.