Published by Faber
Willa Knox is a woman trying to hold things together. Her house, which has been left to her is crumbling about her family’s ears; she and her husband, having worked as university professors, are now unemployed, her son’s girlfriend commits suicide leaving a small, inconsolable baby. Raging against a world that can let these things happen, Willa nonetheless comes to find consolation in her blossoming relationship with her daughter, Tig and her baby grandson, and her obsession with the first occupants of her unstable house.
Interleaved with Willa’s story is the tale of Thatcher Greenwood, who lived in her house in 1871. A science teacher who wishes to educate his small town about the work of Darwin, he runs foul of the town’s Christian founder, who is more than happy with the status quo. He finds inspiration in his friendship with his neighbour, the enigmatic Mary Treat, a scientist and breaker of the mould of Victorian womanhood.
An interesting novel about reason and faith, the failures of capitalism, family and loss, from one of our favourite authors.