For the rest of his life, Nat would remember exactly what he was doing last night – at any rate, when his current amnesia wore off he would remember some of it.’
A novel which opens on May 2nd 1997, the morning after new Labour’s landslide election victory, and which ends five years later. The political backdrop is inescapable but this is not so much ‘state of the nation’ as state of our souls – an epic tale about a group of averagely unhappy and typically dysfunctional characters. There’s Nat, failed dramatist and reluctant lecturer, falling for a younger woman; Anthea, an eco-friendly lost soul obsessed with foxes; Libby, hardworking mother and advertising executive, the family breadwinner; Harry, Nat’s friend and ex-pupil, a journalist on a local paper, with a guilty secret; and Jack, Nat’s blimpish but poignant uncle, who lives for fox-hunting, and runs a failing engineering company in East Anglia. Beneath the bright familiar world of Blair’s Britain, there’s a dark undertow of personal distress and disenchantment. And beyond the main protagonists we glimpse a wide range of other lives – young and old, metropolitan and rural, black and white.
Five days, five characters, five years – and two rivers. Funny and tragic by turn. A page-turner for our times.
- Format: Hardcover: 384 pages
- ISBN: 0701180463
- Published: 5 April 2007
- Publisher: Chatto and Windus Buy Online