A troubled family gather at the ancestral home on the Welsh coast, awkwardly awaiting the death of the family patriarch. Polite conversation gives way to sly remarks and bickering in this tense reunion, and the household's respectable surface is scratched away to expose secret warfare, malicious games and viciously funny class-consciousness. In Alice Thomas Ellis's first novel, the caustic wit, brisk pace, and profound insight she is famous for are displayed to full effect.
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(196mm x 125mm x 11mm)
Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
A family gathers in village on the Welsh coast to await the death of the patriarch, known only as the Captain. But in Alice Thomas Ellis' first novel, originally published in 1977, there is no cosy, grieving comfort often expected from a death-bed scene. On the contrary, there are feuds to be continued and malice lurking in every deed. Ellis is a searing and caustic writer and this is a stunning first novel. No nuance of social convention escapes the stab of her pen, her wit is reserved in particular for the self-satisfied and hypocritical - and her portrayal of the household's warring women is particularly fine. This is as fresh and relevant now as it was in the 1980s - a true modern classic. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Alice Thomas Ellis
A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Alice Thomas Ellis was born in Liverpool and worked for many years as an editor at Duckworth. Her 'Home Life' column in The Spectator (1985-9) was justly famous. Winner of many other awards, Ellis was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1982.