A common theme in the modern novel is the sense of alienation among people in contemporary society.
My Secret History takes up this theme.
The novel focuses on the life of Andre Parent, a Catholic who grows up in Boston during the 1950s and who copes with the repressive environment of his early life by living two lives — one open and conforming, the other secret and reckless. Through this novel, Theroux makes dual comments on modern society: that repressive and judgmental forces are driving everyone to hypocrisy and that such secrecy can go unchecked because of extreme isolation.
Theroux suggests that people compartmentalize their lives to accommodate the conflicting demands of society and self. Because people are judgmental and dictatorial regarding the behaviors of others, they turn to secrecy in order to fulfill themselves without jeopardizing their status in the community. As Andre notes, "as soon...