After more than twenty years in London, Kate Flynn has abandoned her career as an academic, rented her apartment in the city, and moved back to live with her mother in the grand old house beside a lake where she grew up. Bored and lonely, Kate meets a childhood friend, David Roberts, at the opera. David is married, but Kate finds herself falling for him against her better judgment.
At the same time, David's seventeen-year-old son is visiting Kate's house in secret, attracted by her eccentricity, her wit, and her shelves full of old books and music. Though she knows the risks, Kate cannot quite resist either man. As both father and son set about their parallel courtships, Tessa Hadley's intricate, graceful novel discovers the anxieties of adulthood, and the hazards of refusing to grow up.
"A chess game of slow-burn erotic maneuvers . . . Hadley is a lovely, subtly teasing writer."--The New York Times Book Review
"Truly beautiful prose. Hadley's writing is outright gorgeous, without a misstep or false note. . . . Both artful and realistic and most of all enjoyable."--Newsday
"Elegantly observed . . . Hadley's smart, often prickly characters remind us that love is never simple and happiness rarely wins without sorrow."--People (four stars)
"Melancholy and starkly emotive . . . evokes the raw drama that lies at the emotional nexus between friends and lovers, husbands and wives, parents and children."--Booklist
"Hadley handily casts her tough but compassionate gaze on the domestic chaos that can erupt from coping with declining parents, the rekindling of old flames, and the sorting-out of a deteriorating marriage."--The Seattle Times
"A perfectly wrought novel . . . [Hadley has] a gift for psychological acuity and an ability to encapsulate the human condition."--The Guardian (UK)