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  • Published: 18 February 2020
  • ISBN: 9781784709235
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $19.99

Late in the Day

The lives of two close-knit couples are irrevocably changed by an untimely death in this bestselling new novel from Tessa Hadley

'Unflinching, intelligent and fascinating' Marian Keyes

The lives of two close-knit couples are irrevocably changed by an untimely death in this Sunday Times bestselling novel

Alex and Christine and Zach and Lydia have been inseparable since their twenties. From student house-shares and grubby pubs to proper homes and grown-up careers, the two couples' lives have been interlinked for decades. Then one evening, Alex and Christine receive a call from a distraught Lydia. Zach is dead.

Inconsolable, Lydia moves in with Alex and Christine. But instead of their loss bringing them closer, the three of them find that love and sorrow give way to anger and bitterness as old entanglements and resentments rise from the past.

'A fine-grained novel of friendship, loss and jealousy' Sunday Times, *100 Great 21-Century Novels*

  • Published: 18 February 2020
  • ISBN: 9781784709235
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley is the author of six highly praised novels, Accidents in the Home, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Everything Will Be All Right, The Master Bedroom, The LondonTrain,Clever Girl and The Past, and three collections of stories, Sunstroke, Married Love and Bad Dreams. The Past won the Hawthornden Prize for 2016, and Bad Dreams won the 2018 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. She lives in London and is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her stories appear regularly in the NewYorker and other magazines.

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Praise for Late in the Day

Tessa Hadley is one of our finest writers. The sensitivity of her psychological insight and understanding is unmatched by anyone writing today... [in Late in the Day], Hadley comes into her own. It’s glorious stuff: moving, beautiful and so enjoyable. All hail Queen Tessa!

Robbie Millen and James Marriott, The Times *Books of the Year*

Hadley’s wonderful tale [Late in the Day –] measured, ironic, disarmingly perceptivepicks up on all the contradictions of human existence. With Hadley, you know there’s an adult in the room.

Johanna Thomas-Corr, Observer

The quintessential domestic novel in the most elevated sense… excellently insightful on family dynamics and the intricacies of close friendship.

Pandora Sykes, The High Low podcast

With each new book by Tessa Hadley, I grow more convinced that she’s one of the greatest stylists alive… her quietly elegant style and muted wit are triumphs… the everyday tragedies and betrayals of domestic life [are] rendered by Hadley’s prose into something extraordinary… The tone of Late in the Day is perhaps Hadley’s most delicate accomplishment.

Ron Charles, Washington Post

You know you are in safe hands with Tessa Hadley who, on a sheer sentence-by-sentence level, delivers more enjoyment than almost any other living writer... you'll be hanging on to every word.

Claire Allfree, Daily Mail *The Best Holiday Reading*

There may be no historical newness to women’s disenchantment with male authority, but it feels new to write about it with this much raw honesty… It’s to her great credit that Hadley manages to be old-fashioned and modernist and brilliantly postmodern all at once… Unlocking age-old mysteries in ways both revelatory and inevitable. We’ve seen this before, and we’ve never seen this before, and it’s spectacular.

Rebecca Makkai, New York Times

My favourite novel of 2019 by a long way was Tessa Hadley's Late in the Day… Hadley is a beautifully descriptive writer and a penetrating observer of human nature.

James Marriott, Sunday Times *Books of the Year*

Like all Hadley’s novels, Late in the Day enthrals.


Tessa Hadley picks apart the stitches of marriage, friendship and self with an almost forensic curiosity [in Late in the Day], cementing her place as one of Britain's finest writers of contemporary fiction.

Thea Lenarduzzi, Vogue

Hadley examines profound areas of life – friendship, marriage, parenthood, grief, love – with a delightful precision, hitting different nails on the head over and over again… Her novel is full of these piercing little moments of revelation… [because of] the crispness of Hadley’s narrative, and the wisdom of her observations: you trust her… [Late in the Day has] a touch of genius.

Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

Another quiet masterpiece from a modern great.

Robbie Millen and James Marriott, The Times *The Best Books of 2019*

Tessa Hadley is one of your finest writers… [she] approaches her subjects with the sort of attention to detail that a Dutch Golden Age master might bring to a jug and a bowl of fruit… Hadley is the real deal.

Alex O'Connell, The Times

A real triumpha very fine novel.

Radio 4, Saturday Review

[Hadley] is a gifted anatomist of human relationships... Her particular genius lies in the elegance and precision with which she captures the fleeting emotion, the passing, indefinable perception or tiny epiphany.

Katherine Powers, Wall Street Journal

I absolutely loved Tessa Hadley's Late in the Day… There are few British writers who are more acute at a micro-level on the psychology of their characters and I was completely engrossed by this novel.

Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times *Books of the Year*

I loved Tessa Hadley’s Late in the Day. Hadley brings the gifts of a still-life painter to her fiction yet manages to produce satisfying twists and turns to her storytelling.

Melissa Benn, New Statesman, *Books of the Year*

Hadley’s fiction — both long and short — has, with a delicious, detached clarity, observed the shape of relationships: their unconventionality, their transgressions. She is a superb stylist, with none of the pretensions that have latterly been attached to such a term: dispassionate, yet voluptuous in her prose.

Catherine Taylor, Financial Times

Hadley’s fiction — both long and short — has, with a delicious, detached clarity, observed the shape of relationships: their unconventionality, their transgressions. She is a superb stylist, with none of the pretensions that have latterly been attached to such a term: dispassionate, yet voluptuous in her prose.

Catherine Taylor, Financial Times

With masterly economy, the hallmark of her style… Hadley takes us back and forth in time, and her forensic dissection of friendship, marriage and grief is a mature work by a writer at the top of her game.

Vanessa Berridge, Daily Express

Gorgeous, utterly absorbing… More than many of her contemporaries, the British writer Tessa Hadley understands that life is full of moments when the past presses up against the present, and when the present transforms the past. Her brilliant new novel, Late in the Day, explores both with equal urgency.

Margot Livesey, Boston Globe

A great novel... Hadley's wit is Austenesque.

Caroline Moore, Spectator

Much like Virginia Woolf in Mrs Dalloway, Hadley is excellent at capturing how the past presses upon each present moment… Her exploration of generational dynamics, between parents and their children, is engrossing[a] real triumph.

Anita Sethi, iNews

In her masterly seventh novel Tessa Hadley… is possibly most impressive as an analyst of small gestures and an inspired noticer of things… [Hadley’s descriptions] have a hallucinatory vividness and everything in the story seems placed and considered with enormous care, from the smallest detail… to the subtle emotional truths which form the basis of all Hadley’s fiction. With a single flourish, she can make us interested in even the most peripheral characters, and their lives beyond the book.

Claire Harman, Evening Standard

Like [Tessa Hadley's] previous fiction, Late in the Day explores the seams and fault lines of private life with unsentimental clarity... Hadley tells her story in cool, unemphatic prose, eschewing rhetorical crescendos even at moments of crisis and instead conveying the intensity of her characters’ experience through striking metaphor.

Rohan Maitzen, Times Literary Supplement

A fine-grained novel of friendship, loss and jealousy.

Sunday Times, *100 Great 21-Century Novels*

As ever, [in Late in the Day] Hadley's psychological insight is remarkable. She is deeply interested in the minutiae of relationships and the way men and women interact... One of our finest living writers, and if you haven't read her yet then you really must.

Alice O'Keeffe, Bookseller *Book of the Month*

For 16 years, [Hadley’s] fiction has turned a beady, amused eye on ordinary lives, illuminating them with quiet authority… virtually all her sentences are perfect… an acute and beautifully observed novel.

Reader's Digest

Hadley's writing is lyrical, perceptive and has great emotional heft. Go read [Late in the Day]!

Joanne Finney, Good Housekeeping *Book of the Month*

Tessa Hadley's Late in the Day promises an intriguing study of the way members of a close-knit group of friends react to the sudden, unexpected loss of one of their number.

Allan Massie, Yorkshire Post

Hadley’s great strength is her wise, fine-grained observation of interpersonal relations… Hadley moves with ease between perspective and also back and forth in time.

Claire Lowdon, Sunday Times

Tessa Hadley is easily one of my favourite authors writing today, and her new novel – Late in the Day... has been highly praised by everyone I know (and, crucially, trust) who's already got their hands on it.

Olivia Marks, Vogue

Tessa Hadley is well-known for her inimitable portrayal of character and her latest effort, Late in the Day, is no disappointment... A smart exploration of human nature, desire, and friendship.

Vanity Fair

A penetrating observer of human behavior, [Hadley] has a gift for dialogue that bristles with what remains unsaid… vividly imagined… Hadley presents a masterly portrait.

Pamela Norris, Literary Review

Strange, unsettling — eerily beautiful, discomfiting, stay-up-late-addictive, sometimes hair-raising... Always, it’s Hadley’s high-res magnification on the interplay of marital (and friendship, and parental) dynamics that supplies her work’s steady gold.

Joan Frank, San Francisco Chronicle

[Hadley’s] prose is a form of civilised conversation... Late in the Day is a very good novel indeed… [Hadley] knows when to let silence speak, and she has the rare gift of writing dialogue which both rings true and hints at what had been left unsaid but is keenly and sometimes painfully felt.

Allan Massie, Scotsman

A clever, compassionate novel that sings to the possibility of renewal in late middle-age.

Claire Allfree, Daily Mail

[A] splendid, perceptive book… Hadley has expertly examined the complications and intimacies of marriage and family in such novels as The Past, The Master Bedroom and Clever Girl. In Late in the Day she continues her persistent exploration of human frailty and resilience, moving easily between the present and the past to reveal the hard edges and silent compromises that shape all relationships.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Her prose has the penetrating quality of Henry James at his most accessible… and is alert, as Virginia Woolf and Elizabeth Bowen were, to how time sculpts, warps or casually destroys us... A quiet triumph.

Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times

Late in the Day is confident, brilliant, dark and interesting.

Iona McLaren, Daily Telegraph

Tessa Hadley’s brilliant new novel – an event that always sparks joy… [– is an] elegantly written, ironically witty book… [Hadley] is constantly being favourably compared to Virginia Woolf – as well as Jane Austen and Henry James.

Jackie McGlone, Herld Scotland

This is not a novel filled with incident, its pleasures are perception, insight and the intense examination of emotions… A very grown-up read.

Eithne Farry, Sunday Express

Tessa Hadley’s compelling new novel, Late in the Day, is a subtle, delicate evocation of modern lifeHadley’s observation is pin-sharp: whether describing a contemporary student’s house, a late-night drive, or simply a quiet room with only the reading light turned on, there is a shapely intelligence at workThere is something of Iris Murdoch’s fierce attention to the physical here.

Philip Womack, Independent

Tessa Hadley has become literary fiction’s chronicler-in-chief of the lives and loves of the English middle classes… Conveying their lifestyle with shrewd economy… Hadley relies on patient, persuasive observation to draw us into a satisfying family drama of hopes and regrets as viewed from the fag end of middle age.

Anthony Cummins, Metro

Tessa Hadley’s great success as a novelist lies inexamining her characters with an unusual degree of psychological subtlety. Her particular strength is to combine a deep excavation of human frailty with compassion for its effects.

Andrew Motion, Guardian

Clever and thoughtful… [Late in the Day] is wholly impressive.

Ella Walker, UK Press Syndication

Hadley… [is] authoritative and powerful… a complex story structure juxtaposing present and past and featuring carefully timed revelations.

Michele Roberts, Tablet

This is the perfect example of domestic fiction done well… Hadley's prose is measured, spare and utterly perceptive of the human condition.

Culture Calling

Extraordinarily skilled and penetrating.

Philip Hensher

The language is poetic and beautifully crafted… [and it] is the measured intimacy of Hadley's language that allows her to capture in so few words, the whirring emotions that stir beyond the surface.


Crisp, considered prose.

Franklin Nelson, Cherwell Newspaper

Exquisitely written… A slow burn that’s as elegant as it is crushingly emotional.

Sunday Powell, Sunday Telegraph

Late in the Day… [is] beautifully written with moments of real tenderness — I found it immensely enjoyable and thought-provoking.

Sharon White, Financial Times, *Summer Reads of 2019*

A wonderfully involving, intelligent and subtle.

Sunday Times, *Summer Reads of 2019*

One of the best literary offerings so far this year.

UK Press Syndication, *Summer Reads of 2019*

A prime study of the modern condition.

Conrad Landin, Camden New Journal

Tessa Hadley is one of those rare authors who keep getting better and better… the writing is joyous, and the conclusion will set your heart singing.

Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail, *Books of the Year*

Hadley’s prose is so elegant, her quiet observations on ageing, adultery, motherhood and art so penetrating, it is pure reading pleasure.


Hadley’s elegant sentence-making is pure joy, combining scathing observation with careful compassion in a novel.

Claire Allfree, Metro, *Books of the Year*

A stunning read by a masterly writer.

Emma Lee-Potter, Daily Express

Late in the Day will delight fans of Tessa’s work and is an excellent introduction to her style for those unfamiliar with her novels. It’s a gentle yet impactful and deeply thought-provoking book that will leave you reflecting on your own choices and relationships – and makes a perfect beginning to a new year of reading.

Charlotte Griffiths, Cambridge Edition

A brilliant, beautiful novel populated by multifaceted characters and lit by Hadley's insight and skill.


Reflective, poignant and beautifully written, it reminds us that the constant in life is change.

Jane Shilling, Daily Mail


Eithne Farry, Daily Mirror

[A] compelling novel… Hadley captures the way old feelings, longings and hidden secrets unravel tight-knit relationships.

Andreina Cordani and Eithne Farry, Daily Express

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