From the Publisher
“Miraculous . . . Deft and resonant, [these stories] encapsulate moments of hope and humiliation in a kind of shorthand of different lives lived. Hadley never fails to surprise.” The New York Times Book Review
“Tessa Hadley's gift as a writer is so considerable that her characters' revelations and predicaments linger in the mind long after her narrative has darted off in other directions.” Alice Traux, The New York Times Book Review
“A warm novel that follows the contours of four generations of a family and, in the end, shows us ourselves.” Associated Press on Everything Will Be All Right
“Marvelously intricate . . . Hadley's intelligence puts her in the company of Carol Shields and Doris Lessing.” The Boston Globe on Accidents in the Home
The female protagonist in Hadley's first novel, Accidents in the Home, commits adultery to escape domestic drudgery and a lackluster marriage. In their desperation and plaintiveness about the loss of sexual vigor and the thrill of the tryst, the women in these 11 stories (ten previously published) are more like Philip Roth's men than Madame Bovary. In "Exchanges," an older woman who's an Old Testament miracle away from having another child sleeps with a much younger man. As a result, her friend ponders her own sexual life span and concludes that you're not in your right mind to indulge in that kind of adulterous love. Most of the time, though, Hadley is expert at catching her characters trying to reason their actions. The logic has the air of economics: two mothers feel a sensation of "sensual surplus"; one of them thinks her husband "owes" her the passionate kiss she gave a family friend; a man bumps into the woman who seduced him as a teenager and sleeps with her "as if he was claiming something he was owed." Hadley's stories span years, and her characters rarely end up where they started. While the changes they undergo and the realizations they come to aren't always seemly, they're thrilling to witness. Recommended for larger collections and where Hadley's work is popular.