P. D. James on the sameness, the joylessness of lust

"Dalgliesh walked through Soho to the Cortez Club. With his mind still freshened by the clean emptiness of Suffolk he found these canyoned streets, even in their afternoon doldrums, more than usually depressing. It was difficult to believe that he had once enjoyed walking through this shoddy gulch. Now even a month's absence made the return less tolerable. It was largely a matter of mood, no doubt, for the district is all things to all men, catering comprehensively for those needs which money can buy. You see it as you wish. An agreeable place to dine; a cosmopolitan village tucked away behind Piccadilly with its own mysterious village life, one of the best shopping centres for food in London, the nastiest and most sordid nursery of crime in Europe. Even the travel journalists, obsessed by its ambiguities, can't make up their minds. Passing the strip clubs, the grubby basement stairs, the silhouettes of bored girls against the upstairs window blinds, Dalgliesh thought that a daily walk through these ugly streets could drive any man into a monastery, less from sexual disgust than from an intolerable ennui with the sameness, the joylessness of lust."

—P. D. James, Unnatural Causes, p. 173


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