Having read through piles of analysis of the Nigella Lawson business in the Sunday papers, I suddenly remembered the novels written by Josephine Hart, who was married to Saatchi’s brother, Maurice. Hart, who died at 69 two years ago, wrote only two short novels but they were both powerfully intense, chronicling abusive, dysfunctional relationships. Damage, in particular, was a very dark and rather sadistic novel, about a sexual obsession which became brutal and, ultimately, fatal. Long before 50 Shades, Josephine Hart was really putting the pain into her characters’ own Red Room of Pain.
Of course, it could be sheer coincidence that one brother seems to feel that boundaries are for the little people, leaving him free to break taboos whenever he chooses, even in public, and the other brother’s wife writes about a man who is, well, pretty much the damn same. The book was made into a film, starring Jeremy Irons, Miranda Richardson and Juliette Binoche. I’m almost tempted to watch it again, just to see if there are any more parallels. On the bright side, Nigella seems to have extricated herself from this claustrophobic world of passions and suffering. I hope she’s eating a big slice of cake right now and putting all those nutters behind her.