This won’t make a lot of sense unless you’ve read the book, but it’s a good one: The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, a tale of polymorphously perverse expats in postwar Spain and France.
Jake Barnes has received a wound in the war (WWI) that has apparently made him impotent, unable to sexually satisfy the randy Brett (Lady Brett Ashley), who has serial affairs with several people, including a bullfighter. Jake clearly loves her, but there’s little hope for the relationship given his inability to sexually satisfy Brett. At the end, a policeman symbolically calls a halt, pressing them up together, Jake is ironic, and the whole thing is ineffably poignant.
“Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”
Curiously, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe were all discovered and edited by the same man, the great Maxwell Perkins of Scribner’s. (See A. Scott Berg’s biography, Maxwell Perkins: Editor of Genius.) Perkins had an unerring ear for literature. He was also the editor for Marjorie Kinnan Rawling’s book, The Yearling, which I beg you to read.