Kate Flynn has always been a clever girl, brought up to believe in herself as something special. Now Kate?s forty-three and has given up her university career in London to come home and look after her mother in Firenze, their big house by a lake in Cardiff. When Kate meets David Roberts, a friend from the old days, she begins to obsess about him- she knows it's because she's bored and hasn't got anything else to do, but she can't stop. David is married, rational, dependable- the last type to want an affair.David?s marriage isn't as solid as it looks, though. His wife Suzie has moved out of their bedroom, she avoids talking to David or spending time at home with him and their children, she has made new friends who smoke dope and believe in fortune telling. David takes refuge in Firenze, where he cantalk to Kate about music.David?s seventeen-year-old son Jamie is also drawn to the old house full of books and history. He is more like Kate than his father is, bookish and clever- he wants to find out all about life from her. He turns up one night at Firenze, drunk and desperate.Tessa Hadley's intricate, graceful novel explores the tangled web of connections between parents and children, lovers and friends; the past casts its long shadows in the present; men and women who were once confident they knew themselves, learn to attend to the changes unfolding inside them.
Tessa Hadley is the author of six highly praised novels, Accidents in the Home, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Everything Will Be All Right, The Master Bedroom, The London Train, Clever Girl and The Past and two collections of stories, Sunstroke and Married Love. The Past won the Hawthornden Prize for 2016. She lives in London and is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her stories appear regularly in the New Yorker and other magazines.