The Greatest British "Adultery" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Adultery

The "Adultery" category in literature encompasses works that delve into the complex and often morally fraught subject of infidelity within relationships, particularly marriage. Books within this genre explore the emotional, psychological, and social ramifications of extramarital affairs, examining themes such as betrayal, guilt, passion, and the search for personal fulfillment. The narratives often provide insight into the characters' inner lives and the circumstances that lead to their decisions to engage in adultery, as well as the consequences that unfold for all parties involved. This genre can span various styles, from dramatic and tragic to introspective and even comedic, offering readers a multifaceted look at one of society's enduring taboos.

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  1. 1. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford

    "The Good Soldier" is a tragic tale of two seemingly perfect couples: an American couple and an English couple, who meet at a German spa and share a nine-year friendship. However, underneath the surface, their relationships are far from ideal, filled with infidelity, lies, and deceit. The story is narrated by the American husband, who is the last to realize the intricate web of affairs and betrayals amongst the group. The novel explores themes of love, passion, and the destruction that can result from suppressed emotions and societal pressures.

    The 117th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

    "Lady Chatterley's Lover" is a controversial novel that explores themes of class, sexuality, and the human condition. The story revolves around a young, upper-class woman married to a paralyzed war veteran who, feeling emotionally and physically neglected, embarks on a passionate affair with the estate's gamekeeper. The narrative delves into the protagonist's sexual awakening and her struggle against societal norms, ultimately advocating for emotional honesty and physical intimacy as essential components of a fulfilling life.

    The 184th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

    This novel tells the story of Jude Fawley, a working-class young man who dreams of becoming a scholar. The traditional class structure in 19th-century England prevents him from realizing his dream and his only solace is his love for his cousin, Sue Bridehead. Their scandalous relationship and the tragic events that follow form the heart of the narrative, which explores themes of love, class, religion, and morality.

    The 231st Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

    Set in London during and just after World War II, the novel revolves around a love affair between Maurice Bendrix, a writer, and Sarah Miles, the wife of a civil servant. The story is narrated by Bendrix, who is obsessed with Sarah and hires a private investigator to follow her when he suspects she's having another affair. The novel explores themes of love, hate, and the existence of God, with Sarah's faith playing a significant role in the narrative.

    The 285th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

    This classic novel is set in the rustic rural backdrop of Egdon Heath and revolves around the life of Clym Yeobright, a successful diamond merchant who returns to his native land from Paris. His return sparks a chain of events involving love, ambition, betrayal, and tragedy. His love interest, Eustacia Vye, dreams of escaping the monotonous rural life, while his mother disapproves of their relationship. The novel explores the themes of love, fate, chance, and the clash between individuals' aspirations and societal expectations.

    The 386th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

    Set in the 1930s, this novel explores the disintegration of the marriage of an upper-class English couple, Tony and Brenda Last. Brenda embarks on an affair with a social climber, John Beaver, leading to the demise of her marriage. After their son's tragic death, Brenda demands a divorce and a large portion of Tony's estate. Tony, heartbroken, embarks on an ill-fated expedition to the Brazilian jungle. The novel critically examines the moral decay of British aristocracy and society.

    The 529th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

    The novel follows the story of a British colonial police officer stationed in Sierra Leone during World War II. He is an honest and diligent man but finds himself in a moral crisis when he is torn between his duty and his love for another woman. He is caught in a spiral of deceit, corruption, and betrayal that leads to his tragic end. The narrative delves into themes of guilt, faith, betrayal, and moral paradoxes.

    The 597th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Brick Lane by Monica Ali

    This novel tells the story of a Bangladeshi woman named Nazneen who moves to London at the age of 18 for an arranged marriage to a man 20 years her senior. The narrative explores her life in the city, her struggles with her unhappy marriage, her affair with a young radical, and her attempts to reconcile her traditional upbringing with her new surroundings. The book also explores the lives of immigrants in the UK, the clash of cultures, and the struggle for identity.

    The 4081st Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Fifty Shades of Grey: by E L James

    A young, innocent college student interviews a handsome, enigmatic billionaire for her campus newspaper and soon finds herself drawn into his world of dominance and submission. As she navigates the unfamiliar territory of BDSM, she must also grapple with her own desires and the emotional complexities of their unconventional relationship. This erotic romance novel explores themes of power, control, and the nature of love and desire.

    The 6140th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

    Mr. Fox is a novel about a writer who is challenged by his imaginary muse to stop killing off his female characters. This leads to a series of stories within stories, where reality and fantasy blur. The writer, his wife, and the muse navigate through these narratives, exploring themes of love, identity, and the power of storytelling. The novel is a mix of fairy tale, romance, and mystery, with a metafictional twist.

    The 8475th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!

Download

If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

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