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Plot didn't deliver much, but nice prose
on 27 September 2016
I've given it four stars for the wonderful prose style. Any writer who employs words like 'farouche' (twice) and 'splashily' always gets my vote :) The intro/set-up was very promising indeed and had me hooked. Unfortunately, the further the plot (such as it was) progressed, the weaker it got--there was a fairly dramatic outcome for Kate the main character --the fall out from which we never got to see. I also felt the relationship she had with her cat seemed more real than the weirdly complicated one she had with her mother. The sub-plot with David (the brother of an old friend) and his marriage troubles also seemed to fade into 'nothing to see here, really'. So that was a big let down. There was a whole rack of Posy Simmonds-type characters employed as a kind of chorus/back up, including a cello player pal of Kate's who was described in a very engaging, witty way but given no name for some reason. Some passages seemed to be filled out with a distracting picturesque symbolism divorced from actuality--especially the scene where Kate falls into bed with a newly acquired lover and she happens to brush her hand against the antique bed head in the dark--identifying the contours of the elaborately carved cornucopia---as you do while having impromptu sex with someone entirely unexpected :P. Wondered in the end if it was a short story eked out to novella length. Still, I found it a decent read and it made me curious about some of Tessa Hadley's other offerings.