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'So touched with magic, so achingly sad and funny that my breath was taken away... Wonderful' The Times

When Percy and Betty Harlency abandon their seedy Streatham pub, for the Copper Kettle Tearoom in Kent, life for their daughter April changes dramatically. She is befriended by the wonderfully dangerous Ruby, whose red hair and brutal home life emphasise her love of fire, and by the immaculately dressed Mr Greenridge who likes to follow her around the village. Mingling the innocent with the sinister and laced with the tragic and the bizarre, this is a rare evocation of a 1950s childhood.


A harvest festival of sensuous detail, intimate, rich... Compulsively readable

Daily Telegraph

Mackay moved this reader to tears, not from grief, but from joy. Now there's a skill

Fay Weldon, Mail on Sunday

An extremely beautiful and funny novel... The Orchard on Fire is probably Mackay's most perfect book, produced with a technical adroitness and shapeliness which one can only envy

Philip Hensher, Guardian

Shena Mackay is a writer in prime: at the height of her powers... Her prose is flawlessly seductive and comic, confidently witty and sensual

Julie Myerson, Independent on Sunday

Wholly delightful... Shena Mackay is an assured artist

A. N. Wilson, Evening Standard

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Formats & editions

  • EBook


    October 31, 2012

    Vintage Digital

    224 pages

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