“[Francis] is just so good at the transcription and transformation of everyday ordinary life, all seen from sideways on, so that everything becomes so strange and so funny.”–Tessa Hadley
“A triumph.”–Samantha Harvey
“Moving, disturbing and funny.”–The Spectator
“Elegantly written, humorous and perfect in its evocation of a flickering past.”–Tatler
An elderly academic is accosted by a homeless woman on his way home from the cinema. She tells him her name is Laura. So begins a nightmarish journey for Gerald, who is forced to confront the mystery of his own past and to ask himself if he has lived a good life – or even a decent one.
In the course of this very funny, sometimes disturbing and often moving novel, suppressed memories return to haunt him, including the question of the role he played in a family tragedy. Above all he has to assess the harm he may have done in a long-forgotten love affair.
Those close to him suddenly appear unfathomable as he begins to question if he truly knows those closest to him and even himself.
The problem with exploring the past, Gerald begins to see, is that there are an infinite number of ways to travel through it.
Richard Francis was educated at Cambridge and Harvard. He has written 17 books, both fiction and nonfiction, including a number of books on American history and thought. His award-winning novels and books of nonfiction have been published by leading houses in London and New York, including Fourth Estate, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, W.W. Norton, Faber & Faber, and Pantheon. He and his wife live in Bath.