A beautifully wrought and unlikely love story, exploring the power of storytelling
Chris is in his forties: bored, lonely, trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. He’s a stranger to the 1970s youth culture of London, a stranger to himself on the night he invites a prostitute into his car.
Roza is Yugoslavian, recently moved to London. She’s in her twenties, but has already lived a life filled with danger, misadventure, romance, and tragedy. And though she’s not a prostitute, when she’s propositioned by Chris, she gets into his car anyway.
Over the next few months Roza tells Chris the stories of her past. She’s a fast-talking Scheherazade, saving her own life by telling it to Chris. And he takes in her tales as if they were oxygen in an otherwise airless world. But is Roza telling the truth? Does it even matter?
“A triumph - a finely executed little masterpiece”
“It's a glory...intensely moving...It's a wise and moving novel, perfectly accomplished. It shows that no life is ordinary. It shines fresh light on the nature of love”
“Sublimely funny and moving...by the time I'd finished this sleek little novel I'd laughed out loud numerous times and, eventually, cried. That's as true a testimony to a book's loveliness as I know”
“A striking and wise novel, deceptively slight yet emotionally profound”
“This is a silk stocking of a novel: fragile, light, of little practical purpose - and yet possessed of surprising tensile strength...making it look this simple is a real art”
“De Bernieres is a skilful writer, poetic but unforced, who can soothe you like a masseur, telling well-oiled stories of past excitements, and then just when you are drifting off, dexterously tweak a pressure point”
“Attractive and completely compelling”