Tessa Hadley is the author of six highly praised novels including Accidents in the Home, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Everything Will Be All Right, The Master Bedroom, The London Train, Clever Girl and The Past. She is also the author of two highly acclaimed collections of short stories, Sunstroke and Married Love. She teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University. Her stories appear regularly in The New Yorker, Granta and other magazines.
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The Past, Jonathan Cape, 2015
Over five novels and two collections of stories Tessa Hadley has earned a reputation as a fiction writer of remarkable gifts, and been compared with Elizabeth Bowen and Alice Munro. In her new novel three sisters and a brother meet up in their grandparents’ old house for three long, hot summer weeks. The house is full of memories of their childhood and their past -- their mother took them there when she left their father – but now they may have to sell it. And under the idyllic surface, there are tensions.
Roland has come with his new wife and his sisters don’t like her. Kasim, the twenty-year-old son of Alice’s ex-boyfriend, makes plans to seduce Molly, Roland’s teenage daughter. Fran’s children uncover an ugly secret in a ruined cottage in the woods. Passion erupts where it’s least expected, blasting the quiet self-possession of Harriet, the oldest sister. A way of life – bourgeois, literate, ritualised – winds down to its inevitable end.
With uncanny precision and extraordinary sympathy, Tessa Hadley charts the squalls of lust and envy disrupting this ill-assorted house party, as well as the consolations of memory and affection, the beauty of the natural world, the shifting of history under the social surface. From the first page the reader is absorbed and enthralled, watching a superb craftsman at work.
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
Hadley should be a bestseller rather than literary fiction’s best kept secret. Don’t let her fellow novelists keep her for themselves.
- The Times
Tessa Hadley excels at presenting the contrasting viewpoints of children, teenagers and adults, and her evocative descriptions of the English countryside are a delight.
- 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.
Here’s more proof that Tessa Hadley is an underrated talent…Hadley should be a bestseller rather than literary fiction’s best kept secret.
- The Times
Clever Girl follows the story of Stella, from her childhood as the daughter of a single mother in a Bristol bedsit in the 1960s into the mysterious shallows of her middle age. The story is full of drama – violent deaths, an abrupt end to Stella’s schooldays, two sons by different fathers who aren’t around to see the boys grow up – but as ever it is her observation of ordinary lives, of the way men and women think and feel and relate to one another, that dazzles. Yes, you think. This is how it is.
A collection of short stories showcasing all of Tessa Hadley's skill in depicting personal relationships and scenes of domesticity in a powerful and new way.
A novel in two parts, separate but wound together around a single moment, examining in vivid detail two lives stretched between two cities.
This intricate, graceful novel explores the tangled web of connections between parents and children, lovers and friends.
Everyday life in these stories crackles with the electricity sparking between men and women, between parents and children, between friends.
This book firmly establishes Tessa Hadley among the great contemporary observers of the human mind and heart.
At the centre of Tessa Hadley's extraordinary first novel is Clare, a young mother of three, who finds that marriage to a good man no longer satisfies her and embarks headlong on a disastrous affair.