This wonderfully acute and unsettling novel charts the trajectory of a woman's life and a couple's relationship during the last decade of the 20th century.
Against a backdrop of the seismic nineties, and framed by two air disasters (Lockerbie late 1988 and the twin towers 9/11 2001), it's the story of Genevieve, psychiatric nurse, wife, mother, daughter, who's trying to keep a whole lot of stuff airborne while things fall apart, inside and out.
Her husband is a filmmaker, usually absent, at first on small-budget art films ("The Snow Queen") in out of the way places.
But, his career takes off, and suddenly he's making big budget star-vehicle movies (still "The Snow Queen") in exotic locations.
While her life narrows (babies, breastfeeding, builders), his expands: this is her narrative, addressed to him, trying to make sense of their lives and the forces - external and internal, family history and genetics, ambition and domesticity - which pull them apart.
Her work, which drives her nuts but keeps her sane, her anarchic friend and colleague Sid, and the sad, crazed women in her charge provide a hilarious, heartbreaking backdrop to a world going off the rails. Unputdownable, funny and sad, "Descent" marks the arrival of a talented new novelist.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 336 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 07/04/2005
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099464525