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  • Published: 15 July 2016
  • ISBN: 9780099597469
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $19.99

The Past




Rivalry, unruly desire and ugly secrets poison a family holiday in Tessa Hadley's latest novel


Rivalry, unruly desire and ugly secrets poison a family holiday in this gripping novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Late in the Day.

'Few writers give me such consistent pleasure' Zadie Smith

Four siblings meet up in their grandparents' old house for three long, hot summer weeks. But under the idyllic surface lie shattering tensions.

Roland has come with his new wife, and his sisters don't like her. Fran has brought her children, who soon uncover an ugly secret in a ruined cottage in the woods. Alice has invited Kasim, an outsider, who makes plans to seduce Roland's teenage daughter. And Harriet, the eldest, finds her quiet self-possession ripped apart when passion erupts unexpectedly.

Over the course of the holiday, a familiar way of life falls apart forever.

'Exquisite' The Times

'Wonderful' Guardian

'Magnificent' Sunday Times

  • Published: 15 July 2016
  • ISBN: 9780099597469
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • 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.

Also by Tessa Hadley

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Praise for The Past

Tessa Hadley recruits admirers with each book. She writes with authority, and with delicacy: she explores nuance, but speaks plainly; she is one of those writers a reader trusts.

Hilary Mantel

A classy, observant page turner.

Woman and Home

Tessa Hadley excels at presenting the contrasting viewpoints of children, teenagers and adults, and her evocative descriptions of the English countryside are a delight.

Anthony Gardner, Mail on Sunday

Tessa Hadley has become one of this country's great contemporary novelists. She is equipped with an armoury of techniques and skills that may yet secure her a position as the greatest of them.

Anthony Quinn, Guardian

Sharply delicate.

Cathy Rentzenbrink, Stylist

Tender and well-made and poignant, it is a gentle delight.

Cressida Connolly, Oldie

Masterly yet understated fiction.

Lucy Scholes, Independent

Tender dissection of a certain sort of English middle-class life is magnificently done: half celebration, half elegy.

Phil Baker, Sunday Times

Time and again, the sheer truthfulness of Hadley's writing blows me away. In the last section, the beauty of the structure unfurls like a peacock's tail.

Saga Magazine

An extremely affecting novel of cumulative richness, yet there is nothing ponderous about Hadley's sparkling and sensuous prose: she captures the comedy of family life brilliantly.

Stephanie Cross, Lady

A new Tessa Hadley is a pleasure to be savoured. The Past is a hugely enjoyable and keenly intelligent novel, brimming with the vitality of unruly desire.

Sameer Rahim, four stars, Daily Telegraph

I find Tessa Hadley's work genuinely helpful, especially when it comes to the big subjects: love and marriage, the political versus the personal, children, friendship. And then there are the sentences themselves, so precise and beautiful, often sly, sometimes devastating, always expertly paced. Few writers give me such consistent pleasure.

Zadie Smith

Tessa Hadley has an exquisite eye for detail.

Joanne Finney, Good Housekeeping

Subtle and beautifully written.

Peter Parker, Spectator

Probably the best novel of the year.

Philip Hensher, Spectator

Draws sibling love and rivalries with as much gentle satire as poignancy.

Arifa Akbar, Independent

No one delineates familial bad behaviour the way [Hadley] does.

Rachel Cooke, Observer

A brilliant British take on two generations of family inhabiting the same house.

Tim Martin, Daily Telegraph

Tessa Hadley has the natural bent of a short-story writer, given to careful description and the kind of feinted closure that pushes uncomfortably past happily ever after.

Radhika Jones, Time Magazine

Hadley is so insightful, such a lovely writer, that she pulls you right into the tangle of wires that connect and trip up the stressed siblings.

People Magazine

Hadley is an exquisite writer, with a fine eye for detail and a way of crafting sentences that make you stop and inhale

The Times

A masterful novel

Spectator

Tessa Hadley is funny, precise, sensuous, and one of the best writers of family life that you are ever likely to encounter - simultaneously sympathetic and penetrating

Daily Mail Books of the Year

She deserves all the prizes. Hadley is psychologically acute, drily witty and.absolutely wonderful on place

Observer

Splendid. Hadley's gift for depicting the interior lives of children and adults rivals Ian McEwan's

Chicago Tribune

Poetic, tender and full of wry humour. A delight

Sunday Mirror

Full of wonders

Observer

An astute and finely written novel

Stylist

Exquisite. For anyone who cherishes Anne Tyler and Alice Munro, the book offers similar deep pleasures. Hadley crystallizes the atmosphere of ordinary life in prose somehow miraculous and natural.... Extraordinary

Washington Post

No one writes family like Hadley

Vogue

My favourite contemporary novelist... Nobody explores the mystery of relationships better than Hadley.

Deborah Moggach

Her best so far

Evening Standard

Hadley is expert at conveying emotion... The way she draws each character is so good the book feels like a huge achievement. Her best so far.

Evening Standard

Hadley, who won the Hawthornden prize this month for The Past, is literary fiction's best kept secret. Don't let her fellow novelists keep her for themselves.

Alex O'Connell, The Times

[The Past is] magnificently done: half celebration, half elegy.

Phil Baker, Sunday Times

There are hints of Larkin in her tender descriptions of landscape and imaginative responses to the ineffable. All her books are wonderful.

Anthony Quinn, Guardian

This is a hugely enjoyable and keenly intelligent novel, brimming with the vitality of unruly desire.

Sunday Telegraph

She has such great psychological insights into human beings, which is rare. She is one of the best fiction writers writing today

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

One of the best novels of 2016.

Ron Charles, Washington Post

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