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Married Love [Hardcover]

Tessa Hadley
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 12.36 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

5 Jan 2012

Lottie announces at the breakfast table that she is getting married. The youngest daughter of a large and close-knit family, Lottie is nineteen but looks five years younger. Her fiancé is Edgar Lennox, a composer of religious music and lecturer at Lottie's university, forty-five years her senior. We follow as Lottie's life unfolds; her marriage to Edgar, the tiny flat they share, the children that follow. It is a story of romantic dreams and daily reality, family loyalties tested but holding, and the comedy and solace to be found in small moments. Evoking a world that expands beyond the pages, it marks the beginning of what is an astonishing new collection.

On full display in these stories are the qualities Tessa Hadley has been praised for often before: her unflinching examination of family relationships; her humour, warmth and psychological acuity; her powerful and precise prose. In this collection there are domestic dramas, generational sagas, wrenching love affairs and epiphanies - captured and distilled to remarkable effect.

Married Love is a collection to treasure, a masterful new work from one of the most accomplished storytellers of today.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (5 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224096427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224096423
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 503,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

These are quiet stories that challenge easy understandings of interpersonal dynamics and show the full complexity of human emotions. With humour and a lot of wit, Hadley elevates local, emotional relationships so that they completely eclipse any need for plot. (Emily Firetog Irish Times)

Hadley is a kind of serious, literary version of the cartoonist Posy Simmonds - no middle-class foible goes unobserved, and every emotion is traced back to its source. (SAGA)

Tessa Hadley returns to the fray with a gem-filled story collection that could serve as a masterclass in the art of short-form fiction writing. (Sunday Business Post)

Time and again, Hadley's prose unearths little treasures in the everyday... And she's as sharp as Alan Hollinghurst or Edward St Aubyn on the cruel comedy of English manners, which makes the unswerving compassion of these stories only more exceptional. (Thomas Marks Literary Review)

[O]ne of the most subtle and sublime contemporary writers. (Charlotte Sinclair Vogue)

Book Description

A masterful new collection from one of the most accomplished storytellers of today.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Collection of Stories. 31 Dec 2011
By Susie B TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This attractively presented book is Tessa Hadley's second collection of short stories; the first story (of twelve) carries the title of the book and is the wonderfully amusing tale of Lottie, who at nineteen, and the youngest of a large and close-knit family, announces one morning at breakfast that she is to marry someone at her university. However her fiancé is not a fellow student, but a lecturer, Edgar Lennox, a composer of religious music who just happens to be forty-five years her senior - and already married. In the space of twenty pages we learn what happens to Lottie after she marries Edgar; about their home, their three children and their hopes and desires. It is a story of dreams versus daily reality, family members versus spouses, and a very good story to start this collection of enjoyable short fiction.

I particularly enjoyed: 'A Mouthful of Cut Glass', set in the 1970s, about two young people, Neil and Sheila, who meet at university and decide to visit each other's homes as the next step in their relationship. Neil is from a working class family and Sheila is the daughter of a vicar living in a large rectory in the country. Although Neil has not tried to conceal his working class origins (in fact it has gained him some creditability at university), when Sheila visits him in his home, their difference in upbringing seems so much more apparent than at university, where they are on mutual ground. When they both go to Sheila's home, the way of life at the vicarage seems totally alien to Neil especially when he has to join in a game of charades with the vicar and his wife and Sheila's eight brothers and sisters. This section of the book had me laughing aloud as poor Neil has to be dressed up as a shepherd, while Sheila's sisters frisk around his feet as sheep baaing.
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3.0 out of 5 stars What's the point? 8 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book very frustrating. There is no doubt that the author writes well and intelligently and can set a scene and introduce characters. But for my money I need a point to a short story. To my mind these stories have no point. I suppose, to be fair, this sort of short story can be compared to an impressionist daub. But when I get to the end of it I say to myself "so what?". The art of short story writing, at any rate short story writing that pleases me, is to make a point. These stories just tale off into nothing and there seems no rhyme or reason why they should end when they do.
Nevertheless I'm going to try one of her novels, because there, surely, she has to have a plot.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dozen "cupcakes"... 1 May 2012
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
British author Tessa Hadley has written 12 short stories in a book, "Married Love". If you're familiar with Hadley's stories, you might want to check the table of contents because most of the stories have been previously published in the "New Yorker", "Granta", and other magazines in the US and the UK. If you're not familiar with her writing, then these stories will be new and enjoyable.

I'm not a big fan of short stories because I find them rather frustrating to read. Just as I'm getting into a story, whoops...it ends. Uh, what happens next? What happened to the characters I've gotten interested in? Too bad, dear, it's on to the next story. Tessa Hadley's stories had the same effect on me. She does such a good job setting her characters and story together that in a second...gone.

But, then I figured, "Hey, I like cupcakes". Sometimes, if I'm not really hungry and just want a touch of sweet, a cupcake will do better than a cake. Maybe short stories are the same thing. Certainly Tessa Hadley's stories are fulfilling in themselves. Did I want some to go longer? Of course I did.

Hadley writes about everyday people in everyday life, but with a twist. Almost all are set in current times; one is set after WW1. They're the stories about a brother's suicide, a young woman marrying a man 45 years older than she it, three god-children meeting after the death of their god-mother, a family reunion, and other looks at small periods of time in a character's life. A slice of cake, a cupcake...rather than the whole cake. Tessa Hadley is an excellent writer and if you like short stories, you'll like her work.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed - flat with no drama 17 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback
The stories rarely come alive, with no highpoints and very little drama at the end. At the end of each story I would have liked to ask the author what the point of the story was, as I failed to see it in most of them. I only finished it to see if it got any better....sadly not.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read 17 Feb 2013
By KNM
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent series of voyages into relationships and the class divide. 'Cut glass' is especially good. The notion that a hard working man, from the labouring classes, comments that he probably earns the same as the (well educated)
vicar is memorable. The good address - the vicarage- hides a lack of cash. It cannot hide the unattainability of a middle class life for the working class man and his family.
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