By the wide sands of Normandy a cluster of young girls play, riding their bicycles along the promenade. Among them is Albertine. A sickly boy watches, longing to possess some of the girls' vitality, their verve and beauty. For her part, Albertine envies his life, the Grand Hotel, the rich leisured friends, shopping on the Grands Boulevards. She makes her play for him, and wins. But eventually he will make Albertine his captive, trapping her in his airless Paris apartment and his suffocating, possessive love. And as she struggles with herself and her fate, the desire she feels is not for him but for others, her free, sensual women friends.
Jacqueline Rose is Professor of English at Queen Mary, University of London; this is her first novel. She is married to Adam Phillips, writer and psychotherapist, and sister of the late Gillian Rose.