The Past

The Past

by Tessa Hadley


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594752523
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 128,668
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Tessa Hadley is the author of five 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 London Train, which was a New York Times Notable Book; and Clever Girl. She is also the author of two short story collections, Sunstroke and Married Love, which were New York Times Notable Books as well. Her stories appear regularly in The New Yorker. She lives in London.

Read an Excerpt

The Past

A Novel

By Tessa Hadley

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2016 Tessa Hadley
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-227042-9


ALICE WAS THE first to arrive, but she discovered as she stood at the front door that she had forgotten her key. The noise of their taxi receding, like an insect burrowing between the hills, was the only sound at first in the still afternoon, until their ears got used to other sounds: the jostling of water in the stream that ran at the bottom of the garden, a tickle of tiny movements in the hedgerows and grasses. At least it was an afternoon of balmy warmth, its sunlight diffused because the air was dense with seed floss, transparent-winged midges, pollen; light flickered on the grass, and under the silver birch leaf-shadows shifted, blotting their penny-shapes upon one another. Searching through her bag Alice put on a show of amusement and scatty self-deprecation. She was famously hopeless with keys. She had come with a young man who was her ex-boyfriend's son and on the train she had been preoccupied with the question of what stage of life she was at, whether people seeing them would think Kasim was her lover, or her child – though he wasn't either. Now he walked away from her around the house without saying anything, and she thought that this mishap with the keys had shrivelled her in his opinion, he was bored already. They were in the country, in the middle of nowhere, with no way back; the house was set behind a cluster of houses on a no through road where there was no café or pub or even shop where they could pass the time.

Behind her smiles she raged at Kasim for a moment. She wished now that she hadn't brought him. It had been a careless suggestion in a moment of feeling bountiful, having this place to offer; she hadn't really expected him to take her up on it and had been flattered when he did. But if she had been alone the keys wouldn't have mattered. It would have been a kind of bliss, even, to be shut out from the responsibility of opening up the house and making it ready for the others. She could have dropped onto the grass in the sunshine. She could have let go her eternal vigilance and fallen deep down here, in this place, Kington, of all places, into sleep, the real thing, the sleep that she was always seeking for and could never quite get. Alice was forty-six, dark, soft, concentrated yet indefinite – she could look like a different person in different photographs. Her complex personality was diffuse, always flying away in different directions, like her fine hair, which a man had once described as prune-coloured; it was soft and brown like the inside of prunes, and she wore it curling loose on her shoulders.


Excerpted from The Past by Tessa Hadley. Copyright © 2016 Tessa Hadley. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Past: A novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read almost two-hundred pages before the book got to be interesting! Not one I would recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautiful story. I have read a few other Tessa Hadley novels (The London Train, Clever Girl) and have never been disappointed. ~*~LEB~*~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Two stars only because the author could write well. There is absolutely no story here. The first 50 pages I kept thinking where is this story going. I plowed through it since I spent money to buy it. At the end I was truly disappointed. Random little plot lines that went no where, characters that could have been fleshed out so much more. I realize that the story was about a family figuring out what to do with their childhood home and none of them had extremely exciting lives but still there was no story here. Sorry I bought into the early reviews I had read in newspapers and magazines.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Three sisters and one brother descend on the house that helped raise them and must make the decision of putting money into fixing it up or saying goodbye to the house that built them. With two bringing their kids, a spouse and an ex-boyfriend's child - it is a full house of crazy! This book is divided into three categories, the first and third beinging the present and the middle part taking place in the past. The first part moved slow it felt like a long set up and get to know you period. The middle dived into the childhood of three of the four siblings and really explained to the reader the quirks of these children and how they got their personalities. The third read so much better after meeting their mother and reading about the childhood that created the adulthood for each of them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You called soulblaze? Is everything allright?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lay down crying