Love, loss and rebirth

James Moore, an American professor of literature and a former G.I. from World War Two, is invited to teach a summer course at Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford. He's excited to visit England, but his wife of twenty-five years is not. Moore travels to Oxford alone, with the idea that Helen will join him later that summer.

A romantic at heart, Moore is thrilled to add an American touch to the Oxford tradition, to add his name to the grand roster of scholars and teachers from Shakespeare's time to the present.

Soon after Moore settles in to teach, he decides to visit nearby Wallingford, where he'd been stationed in 1944. At the local pub, he meets an old man embittered by his wartime encounter with the Americans, and the situation soon spirals out of control. Flush with embarrassment and ale, Moore begins an affair with an English woman he meets in the pub.

With his wife arriving from the States in a day or two, Moore, torn by guilt, has to leave to meet Helen's plane. Her presence sets off a chain of events that results in two deaths, the wreckage of several lives, and Moore's painful examination of his own character. Literature and a belief in a moral world have been his salvation in the past, but can they help him now?

The Pelican Affair
By R. J. Reilly

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