To my regret, I frequently come across jealous people. In my fiction, I’ve written often about this repugnant feeling but, in general, unhappily. The result is always disappointing: from Shakespeare to Proust, everything that could be said has been said, beautifully, and it seems a wasted effort. Besides, I feel some reluctance to dig into myself and what I know about the many jealous people I’ve loved and love. Not to mention that I often run into people who say, in anguished tones, “Forget it, you don’t know enough about jealousy. I do, I know all the torments.” Jealousy is a yellowish muck that we stick our hands into without even the satisfaction of extracting some truth of our own.

And yet it’s hard to ignore the feeling: like it or not, in trivial or extreme form, we’ve all experienced it – not necessarily in love, but in every kind of relationship. Of course I’ve met many people who swear they are not the jealous type. But I’ve pretty quickly had to put them into the category of perjurers: jealousy suddenly appeared in their eyes, though they hurried to retract it – embarrassed, hoping I hadn’t noticed.

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Vijay Nanda

The author Vijay Nanda

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