Felix Quinn calls himself a happy man. He runs one of the oldest antiquarian bookshops in London and his wife, Marisa, is unfaithful to him. All husbands, Felix maintains, secretly want their wives to be unfaithful to them.
Felix hasn't always thought this way. From the moment of his first boyhood rejection, surviving the shattering effects of love and jealousy had been the study of his life. But an event occurs while he is honeymooning with Marisa in Florida that changes all that. At a stroke he goes from dreading the thought of someone else's hands on the woman he loves to thinking about nothing else. From now on he is jealousy's slave and will know no peace until his wife betrays him, and then betrays him again. But how can it be called betrayal if it is what he wants?
Enter Marius into Marisa's affections. And now Felix must wonder if he really is a happy man.
This is a story about agony-addiction; but it is also about the nature of desire itself, the exquisiteness of loss, and the universality of the impulse - whether a jealous husband's or an avid reader's - to play the voyeur, to probe and question, to want to know, day after day, page after page, who is doing what to whom and what will happen next.
Shocking, unashamedly perverse, mordantly funny, and at the last heartbreaking, The Act of Love tackles one of the last taboos of the erotic life. No husband who reads this novel will ever feel the same about his wife again. And no wife will be sure she really knows her husband.