I think this is a novel. The main character whose name is Charlie (I think) goes on a Europe trip, and he ends up in France with a friend of his. Now I am not too sure it was set in France but it seems so.
Anyway they go to a club and he meets a prostitute. I think her name started with ‘L’ ... Louisa or something like that. He offers to let her stay with him for a few days. He comes to think of her as a friend and learns that her husband is in jail for murder. The night her husband killed someone he also slept with her and she felt guilty that her child would be a product of sin. Then she and her mother in law try to help her husband but they fail. And weirdly she becomes a prostitute to pay for her husband’s sins. She wants to punish herself.
Charlie’s friend lives a self imposed life of hardship to be prepared for anything ... after he hears her story and sees his friend’s odd way of living he becomes disillusioned with life. What started as a fun trip becomes difficult for him. He comes home melancholy and I think the novel ends like this “it seemed like the bottom had fallen off the world".
I think it’s by Somerset Maugham but I am not sure. I was always haunted by the story. Any help would be appreciated :)