'Praise the Lord and pass the orchids - a real writer is among us, with a beautiful first novel' Julie Burchill
Joan Aiken tells the story of lame Window and her sailor brother, Handle, who live in a small house in a wooded hollow. Each autumn, when the leaves fall from the trees, the little house is buried right up to its bedroom windows, so each year Handle must sweep the leaves away. But one day, Handle breaks the news that he must go away on an extra long trip. Window is sad, and desperately worried that she cannot survive without him. Before he leaves for the harbour, however, Handle gives Window a little wooden dragon and promises his sister that the dragon will look after her. And so the little dragon sits on a corner shelf, growing dusty, and waits for the time when he can come to Window's aid...
“'This beautiful novel is the story of Margaret and the two men in her life: her father, who brought her up, and Colin, her lover...A tender, moving story, punctuated by flashes of comedy and one climactic moment of appalling violence' Literary Review”
“'A writer rich in the humanity and warmth that seems at a premium in these bleak times' Salman Rushdie”
“'An austere and intense talent... A. L. Kennedy turns pointlessness into significance' Sunday Telegraph”
“'A novel of undeniable warmth and charm' Jonathan Coe, Guardian”
“'An immensely powerful writer is at work' Daily Telegraph”
“'Here is the most promising of the rich new crop of Scottish writers' Scotsman”