Published March 2011
304 pages, Paperback
This novel opens with macabre impact, as a newspaper report describes the discovery of two dead women - one of them a skeleton – in a
North London house. The women are revealed to be the sister and sister-in-law of the man who shared the house. The story of these
characters’ lives is told through a blend of powerful characterisation and social satire, and summons the mingled tragedy and humour of
old age to powerful effect.
The author teases the reader towards the known and awful ending by cutting backward and forwards in time, and gradually constructing
the complex pattern of feelings and events that define even the most mundane-seeming lives. He plays a similar and equally skilful game
with our perceptions of and judgements on the characters, creating believable, fallible and ultimately highly engaging individuals.
All the time, the social and cultural backgrounds to the protagonists’ lives are described vividly and with great precision.
- London born, Stephen Benatar’s first novel was published when he
was 44, and he acknowledges the support and inspiration of Pamela
Hansford Johnson in this achievement. Seven more novels followed,
including, uniquely, one published by a borough council.Gillian Carey
- Gillian Carey had a career in school-teaching which she gave up to have
a family. She then became Fellow and Tutor in English at Manchester College, Oxford,
Oxford’s only college with an intake of
exclusively ‘mature’ students.