Part 2

In this second part of the book, Larry is living in Paris, where he spends his time studying philosophers, reading Literature, and trying to answer unsolvable questions. Elliott tries to get in touch with Larry but he never answers his letters or messages, which Elliott finds insulting.

Recently diagnosed with diabetes, Isabel and Louisa decide to push their trip to Paris earlier and come to visit Elliott for the summer. During this trip, Isabel meets with Larry to discuss when he will return to Chicago, to her great surprise and disappointment, Larry tells Isabel that he still wants to stay in Paris to continue his loafing. He is comfortable with the life he is living. This creates a fight between him and Isabel and her Bourgeois nature is revealed: she wants to live with a lot of money, go to parties with the Elite, be able to shop as she pleases: the normal life. They then realize that they might be better off as friends, and break their engagement. To take her mind off all this drama, Elliott brings Louisa and Isabel to London, where she meets empty, materialistic and fake women whom she worships.

After the summer, they come back to Paris and Isabel goes out with Larry, where they have an incredible night and she tries to persuade him to come back home, but fails. She is still in love with him. Isabel opening up to Maugham (story of their last night) shows how much she trusts an outsider more than a member of her tight circle. Maugham, to her, represents secrecy and trust because he is not like her friends and the people who attend parties, which is why she confesses to him.

– Justine Cantin