The Past (Paperback)Tessa Hadley (author)
Four siblings reunite at their family’s old English holiday home in Hadley’s stunning mediation on the intricacies of human relationships and everyday life, crafted in crystalline and luminous prose.
Everything was changed by it, she thought… if she turned too quickly, or forgot to be cautious, then it jolted her all over again with its dirty news, its inadmissible truth.
Four siblings meet at their family’s crumbling, neglected English holiday home for a long summer holiday. The house – dusty, worn, faded to comforting familiarity - nestles in lush countryside, enclosed in an apparently idyllic haven of dense forest and inviting near-wilderness.
Middle sister Alice is nervous, helpless in the face of her own advancing years, still held by her younger self’s longing for some kind of fierce, passionate encounter. With her is her some-time step-son Kassim, intent on pursuing Alice’s teenage niece, Molly. Roland, the only brother, is accompanied by his recently acquired third wife, an obvious interloper. Weary, brittle and resentful Fran brings her children but not her errant husband. Amidst their individual dramas, eldest sister Harriet, quiet and self-effacing, tries to navigate the erratic volatility of her siblings, entirely unprepared for the unexpected transformation awaiting her.
As secrets bloom, brought into the sunlight, the past is sharply and starkly reanimated, shaking the foundations on which their fragile lives are built.
Tessa Hadley’s latest novel is delicately crafted family drama at its richest and best. A small-canvas chronicle of human unravelling as, steadily, the everyday niceties are stripped away to reveal years of simmering frustration, heartache and regret.
'The way that a family expands and contracts over the decades, keeping its secrets, tending to its own, exposing its hypocrisies and closing over wounds, is shown with wisdom and clarity.' - The Independent
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 255 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 23 mm
'One of the best novels of 2016.' - Washington Post
'I find Tessa Hadley's work genuinely helpful, especially when it comes to the big subjects: love and marriage, the political versus the personal, children, friendship. And then there are the sentences themselves, so precise and beautiful, often sly, sometimes devastating, always expertly paced. Few writers give me such consistent pleasure.' - Zadie Smith
'She has such great psychological insights into human beings, which is rare. She is one of the best fiction writers writing today.' - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
'A new Tessa Hadley is a pleasure to be savoured... The Past is a hugely enjoyable and keenly intelligent novel, brimming with the vitality of unruly desire.' - Daily Telegraph
'Hadley is an exquisite writer, with a fine eye for detail and a way of crafting sentences that make you stop and inhale.' - The Times
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