This fine piece of writing is spoiled by a longish section that really is dull and lacking momentum.
The heroine, who is single, falls pregnant. This is the sixties and abortions are rarely permitted. She is a curious heroine but a believable one. A postgraduate student living in London, she is sexually naive, maybe frigid; she is attractive, pedantic and very honest. Her pregnancy is an 'ironic', her attempt at a do-it-yourself abortion perhaps the only camp-comedy one of its kind in literature.
Then the story sags.
The final sixty pages, out of only 160, are superb. There is suspense, anger, love, and always Ms Drabble's wonderful prose.
Do be warned if you come to this new to the author. Yhis is not her normal style. She wrote this in the style she thought her heroine would use; painfully long sentences,cringe-making views,much in fact as a sixth-former might have written.