The Master Bedroom

A Novel

Tessa Hadley

Henry Holt and Co.

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A single woman at loose ends becomes the object of two men’s affections—a father and his teenage son—in this sly, richly drawn novel
After more than twenty years in London, Kate Flynn has returned to her family home in Wales to care for her aging mother. Having cast off her academic career, she is unmoored, and when she runs into a childhood friend, David Roberts, at a concert, she finds herself falling for him, although she knows she’s grasping at anything to fill the sudden emptiness of her life.

For his part, David’s marriage isn’t as solid as it looks—his wife, Suzie, has begun acting strangely, moving out of their bedroom, neglecting their children, and disappearing for days at a time—and he begins to seek refuge with Kate from the newfound chaos of his life.

David’s seventeen-year-old son, Jamie, is also drawn to Kate’s eccentricity and her strange, glamorous old house full of books and music and history. As both father and son set about their parallel courtships, Tessa Hadley’s intricate, graceful novel explores the tangled web of connections between parents and children, revealing how each generation replays the stories of the one that came before, in new and sometimes startling patterns.

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Book Excerpts

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Chapter One

It was not a sign. Kate refused to let it be a sign.

She hated driving anyway. As soon as she got home she was going to sell the car, but of course she had needed it to move all her stuff from London. The backseat was piled with boxes of books and holdalls stuffed with that miscellany of her possessions which it had seemed impossible to leave behind, so high she couldn’t even see out of her rearview mirror. She always expected when she was driving to die at any moment, and braked and changed lanes with desperate recklessness as if she were gambling, but actually what happened

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Praise for The Master Bedroom

"An elegant, perceptive novel, shot through with deliciously dry wit."—Zoe Heller, author of Notes on a Scandal

“A lovely, subtly teasing writer…Hadley’s observations of the ebb and flow of female desire and frustration are reminiscent of Virginia Woolf, but she taps sensual undercurrents where Woolf wouldn’t have dipped her toe.”—Liesl Schillinger, The New York Times Book Review


“Elegantly observed…Hadley’s smart, often prickly characters remind us that love is never simple, and happiness rarely wins without sorrow.”—Emily Chenoweth, People (four stars)


“Lands squarely in the sweet spot where popular fiction and highbrow literature meet…Hadley’s writing is outright gorgeous, without a misstep or false note.”—Natalie Danford, Newsday


“Exposes the volatility behind buttoned-up family life with wince-inducing clarity…Hadley proves to be an extremely droll writer, one who can dole out acidic observations worthy of British authors such as Rachel Cusk.”—Nita Rao, Time Out New York


“Hadley has a knack for portraying the dysfunctional, often stagnant lives of the infuriatingly repressed.”—Alexis Burling, The Washington Post (MediaMix)


“Tessa Hadley’s third novel is her most ambitious and successful to date…Hadley has a talent for endowing each of her characters with an especially robust point of view.”

—Andrea Walker, Bookforum


“Melancholy and starkly emotive, Hadley’s enervating tale evokes the raw drama that lies at the emotional nexus between friends and lovers, husbands and wives, parents and children.”—Carol Haggas, Booklist


“Dreamy and thoughtful.”—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


About the Author

Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University. She is the author of two novels, Everything Will Be All Right and Accidents in the Home, both available from Picador. Accidents in the Home was long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker. She lives in Cardiff, Wales.

Tessa Hadley


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Available Formats and Book Details

The Master Bedroom
A Novel
Tessa Hadley

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
July 2007
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429934602
ISBN10: 1429934603
352 pages

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
April 2008
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312427979
ISBN10: 0312427972
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 352 pages

From The Publisher

Henry Holt and Co.

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