It opens on the 'new dawn' of Labour's election victory in 1997, and ends five years later. But this is not so much 'state of the nation' as state of our souls, marriages, families, hopes and careers - a sharp and sexy portrait of a dysfunctional group of characters, all different yet connected.
There's Nat, failed dramatist and reluctant lecturer, falling for a younger woman; Anthea, an eco-friendly lost soul obesessed with foxes; Libby, hardworking mother and advertising executive; Harry, Nat's friend and ex-pupil, a journalist on a local paper, with a guilty secret of his own; and Jack, Nat's unexpectedly poignant uncle, who lives for fox-hunting.
Intimate and disconcerting, compelling and comic, an anatomy of the way things are, South of the River is the big British novel for our times - and a tour de force.
Born in Skipton, Yorkshire, Blake Morrison is the author of two bestselling memoirs, And When Did You Last See Your Father? and Things My Mother Never Told Me, the novel The Last Weekend and a study of the Bulger case, As If. He is also a poet, critic, journalist and librettist. He teaches Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, and lives in south London.