Following a long absence spent in New York, Elaine Nichols returns to her childhood home to live with her invalid father and his geriatric Alsatian dog.
The house backing on to theirs is sold and as she watches the old furniture stack up on the lawn, Elaine is brought back to a summer in the 1970s.
She is almost sixteen again and this small out-of-town estate is an enclave for women and children while the men are mysterious shadows who leave every day for the outside world.
The women are isolated but keep their loneliness and frustrations hidden behind a veneer of suburban respectability.
When an American divorcee and her daughter move into the estate, the veneer begins to crack.
The women learn how to socialise, how to drink martinis in the afternoon, how to care less about their wifely and maternal duties.
While the women are distracted, Elaine and her friends find their own entry into the adult world and the result is a tragic event that will mark the rest of Elaine's life and be the cause of her long and guilt-ridden exile. Insightful and full of suspense, this is an uncompromising portrayal of the suburbs and the cruelties brought about by the demands of respectability.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Atlantic Books
- Publication Date: 07/01/2016
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781782390077