Tessa Hadley is the author of six highly praised novels including Accidents in the Home, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Everything Will Be All Right, The Master Bedroom, The London Train, Clever Girl and The Past. She is also the author of two highly acclaimed collections of short stories, Sunstroke and Married Love. She teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University. Her stories appear regularly in The New Yorker, Granta and other magazines.
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The Past, Jonathan Cape, 2015
Over five novels and two collections of stories Tessa Hadley has earned a reputation as a fiction writer of remarkable gifts, and been compared with Elizabeth Bowen and Alice Munro. In her new novel three sisters and a brother meet up in their grandparents’ old house for three long, hot summer weeks. The house is full of memories of their childhood and their past -- their mother took them there when she left their father – but now they may have to sell it. And under the idyllic surface, there are tensions.
Roland has come with his new wife and his sisters don’t like her. Kasim, the twenty-year-old son of Alice’s ex-boyfriend, makes plans to seduce Molly, Roland’s teenage daughter. Fran’s children uncover an ugly secret in a ruined cottage in the woods. Passion erupts where it’s least expected, blasting the quiet self-possession of Harriet, the oldest sister. A way of life – bourgeois, literate, ritualised – winds down to its inevitable end.
With uncanny precision and extraordinary sympathy, Tessa Hadley charts the squalls of lust and envy disrupting this ill-assorted house party, as well as the consolations of memory and affection, the beauty of the natural world, the shifting of history under the social surface. From the first page the reader is absorbed and enthralled, watching a superb craftsman at work.
Praise for The Past
Tessa Hadley recruits admirers with each book. She writes with authority, and with delicacy: she explores nuance, but speaks plainly; she is one of those writers a reader trusts.
- Hilary Mantel
A classy, observant page turner.
- Woman and Home
Hadley should be a bestseller rather than literary fiction’s best kept secret. Don’t let her fellow novelists keep her for themselves.
- The Times
Tessa Hadley excels at presenting the contrasting viewpoints of children, teenagers and adults, and her evocative descriptions of the English countryside are a delight.
- Mail on Sunday
Tessa Hadley has become one of this country’s great contemporary novelists. She is equipped with an armoury of techniques and skills that may yet secure her a position as the greatest of them.
Here’s more proof that Tessa Hadley is an underrated talent…Hadley should be a bestseller rather than literary fiction’s best kept secret.
- The Times