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First published in hardback by Jonathan Cape in 2011

You are crossing the Atlantic on a liner with your boyfriend who may or may not be planning to propose.

You are fleeing the past - your ex-lover Arthur, the man who helped you dupe the vulnerable into believing loved ones were trying to make contact from beyond the grave.

But there's a secret you've kept from Arthur, a deception about the two of you that threatens to emerge when you discover Arthur's presence on the boat.

Reviews

AL Kennedy is almost unique among British novelists for her ability to write fiction that is at once challengingly experimental, luminously beautiful and utterly readable. It helps that she is fiercely observant and very funny... If you want a guide to the rough contradictions of the heart, AL Kennedy is your woman

Jane Shilling, Evening Standard

An amazing conception, one that will make you want to turn back and start again the moment you have finished... the writing is as taught and thrilling as Kennedy's prose always is and there is her usual wry laughter chuckling within it all

Joan Bakewell, New Statesman

This is a masterful novel, imaginatively crafted, shaped by big, precisely articulated emotion

The Times

Kennedy is a fine stylist and single passages are exquisite

Financial Times

Offers the pleasures of a work in which form and content dovetail with extraordinary skill, and in which narrative tricks are utilised to enlarge on the theme of deception rather than for the sake of tricksiness itself

Edmund Gordon, Sunday Times

It displays all the verbal artistry and emotional force of its predecessor, burrowing deep into the minds of its intense central characters

Amber Pearson, Daily Mail

The more mysterious elements of the novel's structure...make the book a giddy pleasure

Anthony Cummins, Literary Review

An impressive novel

Keith Miller, Daily Telegraph

If you like Kennedy's work, with its cool wit, spare stylishness, sharp sense of place and world-worn tenderness, then you'll find all those attributes here

Keith Miller, Independent on Sunday

Always a bold writer, she observes the world with a refreshingly skewed intelligence, and her well-known darkness, sometimes verging on morbidity, is always leavened with wit and humour. She also writes beautifully

Guardian

An amazing conception, one that will make you want to turn back and start again the moment you have finished...the writing is as taut and thrilling as Kennedy's prose always is and there is her usual wry laughter chuckling within it all

Joan Bakewell, New Statesman, Books of the Year

Complex and complicated in the very best way

Erica Wagner, The Times, Books of the Year

This woman is a profound writer

Richard Ford

Kennedy is as disconcertingly accurate at tenderness as at wildness... A passionate writer, on the edge and at risk

New York Times Book Review

Kennedy writes with flaying precision about the things we won't often admit to ourselves, let alone speak aloud

Daily Mail

A virtuoso of prose. Her phrasing is fine-tuned and supple to the highest degree: intuitive and subtle about the multifarious sensations of being alive

London Review of Books

One of the most brilliant writers of her generation.

Sunday Telegraph

Kennedy's sixth novel might move by turns through mystery, love story and comedy of shipboard manners, but its central subject is the transgressive, near-sexual pleasure of passing off fiction as fact

New Statesman

A tricksy, dazzlingly playful novel from this exhilarating Scottish author

Metro

The story takes on a dual purpose, questioning the reader’s appreciation of what is truth and what is deception

Big Issue

Beth’s compulsive self-examination makes this novel as hard to turn away from as it is unsettling to read

Herald

She observes the world with a refreshingly skewed intelligence, and her well-known darkness is always leavened with wit and humour

Carol Birch, Guardian

It may take a while to find your land-legs after reading Kennedy, but the trip will have been well worth the effort

Independent

A stylistically experimental writer, Kennedy reveals the inner workings of those who peddle stories for a living

Emma Hagestadt, Independent and i

AL Kennedy is almost unique among British novelists for her ability to write fiction that is at once challengingly experimental, luminously beautiful and utterly readable. It helps that she is fiercely observant and very funny...If you want a guide to the rough contradictions of the heart, AL Kennedy is your woman

Jane Shilling, Evening Standard

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099555469

    August 1, 2012

    Vintage

    384 pages

    RRP $22.99

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781446499399

    September 30, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    384 pages

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