I defy anyone to read the opening pages and not to be drawn in, as I was . . . Quite simply, Comyns writes like no one else' Maggie O'Farrell
Pretty, unworldly Sophia is twenty-one and hastily married to a young painter called Charles. An artist's model with an eccentric collection of pets, she is ill-equipped to cope with the bohemian London of the 1930s, where poverty, babies (however much loved) and husband conspire to torment her. Hoping to add some spice to her life, Sophia takes up with Peregrine, a dismal, ageing critic, but comes to regret her marriage and her affair alike. However, virtue is more than its own reward, for repentance brings an abrupt end to the cycle of unsold pictures, unpaid bills and unwashed dishes. Barbara Comyns' classic novel blends comedy and tragedy in an unforgettable, bewitching tale.
'A perpetual mad hatter's tea party' Kate Saunders