|If charity begins at home, it might be time to move out
According to her own complex moral calculations, Katie Carr has earned her affair. She's a doctor, after all, and doctors are decent people, and on top of that her husband David is the self-styled 'Angriest Man in Holloway'. When David suddenly becomes good, however - properly, maddeningly, give-away-all-his-money good - Katie's sums no longer add up, and she is forced to ask herself some very hard questions…
Meet Katie Carr
'Listen: I'm not a bad person. I'm a doctor. One of the reasons I wanted to become a doctor was because I thought it would be a good - as in Good, rather than exciting or well-paid or glamorous - thing to do … Anyway. I'm a good person, a doctor, and I'm lying in a hotel bed with a man I don't really know very well called Stephen, and I've just asked my husband for a divorce.'
Meet her husband, David
'David's only steady income derives from a newspaper column he contributes to our local paper. The column is illustrated by a photograph of him snarling at the camera, and is subtitled 'The Angriest Man in Holloway'. The last one I could bear to read was a diatribe against old people who travelled on buses: Why did they never have their money ready? Why wouldn't they use the seats set aside for them at the front of the bus? Why did they insist on standing up ten minutes before their stop, thus obliging them to fall over frequently in an alarming and dignified fashion? You get the picture, anyway.'
Their kids, Tom and Molly
'He is a disconcerting child, Tom - he's quiet, quick on the uptake, direct to the point of being rude. He has the personality of a child prodigy, but no discernible talent.'
'…there was a part of me that thought, yes, she's coming along, she gets it, all those conversations and questions have not been in vain. Now I see that she's a stinking patrician Lady Bountiful who in twenty years' time will be sitting on the committee of some revolting charity ball in Warwickshire, moaning about refugees and giving her unwanted pashminas to her cleaning lady.'
And not forgetting David's guru, DJ GoodNews…
'I try to survive without things that not everybody has,' says GoodNews. 'I'm not joining in until everyone's got everything. When, like, the last peasant in the Brazilian rainforest has a dishwasher.' … 'That's very noble of you, ' I say. Nutter, I think, with an enormous sense of relief. There is, after all, nothing to learn from this person, no way he can make me feel small or wrong or ignoble or self-indulgent: he is simply a crank, and I can ignore him with impunity.'