Stella was a clever girl, everyone thought so. Living with her mother and rather unsatisfactory stepfather in suburban respectability she reads voraciously, smokes until her voice is hoarse and dreams of a less ordinary life. When she meets Val, he seems to her to embody everything she longs for – glamour, ideas, excitement and the thrill of the unknown. But these things come at a price and one that Stella despite all her cleverness doesn’t realise until it is too late.
"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 Ngozie Adichie "As discrete entities, Hadley's short stories are intense, miniature novels in themselves; bound together in a novel, they become quietly brilliant, offering an incisive exploration into how life's individuals episodes add up to a meaningful whole." -- Francesca Angelini * Sunday Times * "Hadley is a writer of exceptional intelligence and skill and, for all the apparent conventionality of her vision, hers is a subtly subversive talent." -- Edmund Gordon * Observer * "There is something reassuring yet deliciously unexpected about a Tessa Hadley novel." -- Helen Brown * Daily Telegraph *
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