“You see, the trick in life is learning how to see differently. . . . Castiglione taught the Chinese about perspective—parallel lines versus converging lines.”
Helen Gibbs is a captive, if not exactly rapt, audience when an art dealer shares this theory. Helen is a British journalist whose assignments carry her around the world and often lead to conversations with interesting and self-important people. Though she isn’t certain she fully grasped the idea, Helen leaves the interview and reflects on the meaning in her own life: “If you lived your life along parallel lines, it didn’t matter where you stood, things would always look the same. If, on the other hand, you lived your life along converging lines, it did matter where you stood because place determined perspective—standing in one place, things looked one way, in another—a different way. So the trick was to figure out where to stand.”
What does that mean for Helen’s relationship with her husband, financier Christopher Delavaux? The couple met on Mexico’s west coast. Their courtship, marriage and careers carry them to equally exotic and cosmopolitan locales: Saint-Tropez, Tangier, New York City. Their relationship plays out on stages accessible almost exclusively through power or wealth. Those factors, much like the romance of the locations themselves, can blur the distinction between what is and what you wish to be.
In A Theory of Love, novelist Margaret Bradham Thornton (Charleston) examines a single relationship and how it is affected by life events both mundane and dramatic. Thornton’s sophomore novel combines its protagonist’s rich inner world with her and her husband’s high-profile, high-stakes careers. Readers will be left, like Helen, contemplating how the parallel or converging lines of their lives affect their relationships.