ISBN: 9781784701987
Pages: 160

This collection of short stories deals with ageing, ambition and the patterns of repetition and renewal found in long histories and friendships, turning both a panoramic and a zoom lens on the way we live now.

Jonathan Cape, 2015; Vintage, 2016; Knopf, 2017; Kein&Aber, 2017


Erewhon (or, Night Thoughts)
Kentish Town (or, The Chimes)
Kythera (or, Cake)
Moscow (or, Strong Man)
Cheapside (or, Ambition)



“My brothers stayed put in Middlesbrough and they don’t speak to me these days.  Earning more than them has done nothing for family relations.  All part of the increasingly bitter civil war that’s been pitting families against each other up and down the country for some time now: north against south, brother against sister, London against the rest. I moved to London at the right time, I was lucky. This year I’ve got twenty-eight people on my books.”
From Moscow

“Most of the heads in the audience had been white- or grey-haired. And she hadn’t been able to help noticing the smell: noting awful, just the subdued but unmistakable smell of under-washed jumpers and hair that had been left to go an extra day. They weren’t expecting anything.”
From Arizona


"Repetition with variation, she thinks; the same but different. That elderly couple at the airport had understood it, forging a new inner world together via shared adventure. You didn't need to go that far, though; anywhere new would do as long as it was new to you both. And how is it that even though we sit at the end of the Atlantic storm track, one day of sun leaves us convinced that summer's here? That's why we still make resolutions and think of new ways to approach life after all this time: because we're human and we need to be reminded and encouraged and refreshed. Again and again. Right to the end."

From Berlin


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