‘Scorching … a brave book.’ Helen Brown, Telegraph’A wise and vivid memoir of a disintegrating marriage and a study of the role of the spouse in the life of a literary giant.’ Fiona Sturges, i Paper. 18TH JANUARY 1990Paul left today at 8am. 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 Sir Richard Burton and the sad, misunderstood wife who burnt his books. The reality was different. ‘This memoir is based on the diary I kept during 1990, the year that my first marriage came to an end.’ 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 professional relationship 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, literature and art, and the nature of marriage, alongside commentary on notable political and cultural events, and interviews with prominent writers of the time, including Kingsley Amis and Barbara Cartland, The Year of the End offers a unique insight into the unravelling of a relationship and the attempt to rebuild a life.