A love story set in Romania and England by the author of the Booker shortlisted bestseller, 'Gabriel's Lament'. Paul Bailey's most ambitious novel yet. Kitty Crozier wakes up in a hospital ward and finds a stranger looking down at her. Thus begins the most important, most demanding, most exhilarating relationship of Kitty's life. Her lover's name is Virgil Florescu, a poet who has escaped from Ceausescu's Romania. As their liaison deepens, more is revealed of their previous lives and of their different families. Both Kitty and Virgil have unusual fathers: Kitty's is a phenomenally accomplished philanderer, while Virgil's has changed his political allegiances from left to right and back again in order to ensure his survival. The book is rich in characters and despite its tragic theme -- which is not revealed until late in the narrative -- is often fiendishly funny. For all its concern with public issues of morality, it is very much about family life -- or rather, that of two distinct families with interesting histories and secrets, not all of them unhappy.
Paul Bailey is the author of At the Jerusalem (1967) which won the Somerset Maugham Award, Trespasses (1970),A Distant Likeness (1973), Peter Smart's Confessions (1977), shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Old Soldiers (1980), Gabriel's Lament (1986), also shortlisted for the Booker Prize and Sugar Cane (1993). He was the first recipient of the E.M. Forster Award and won a George Orwell Prize for his essay `The Limitations of Despair'.