Meehan does not apportion blame, but probes how something whole and radiant and unassailable can spoil. He also makes some bold editorial choices, imagining Constance walking in on her husband having sex with one of his lovers. We cannot be sure if that happened but there is an emotional truth to the scene nonetheless. “Well, well, well,” Constance says. She is distressed to realise that she sounds cheerful, and that her overriding urge is “to ask Oscar if he had been having a nice time”. Her reaction is bleakly comic and entirely believable. The book, though brief, is not an easy read. The prose has an archaic flavour, with certain words capitalised and shortened.