LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016
'Wise, witty and utterly delightful. A book with a big, beating heart' Laurie Penny
'A beautifully written, funny, moving, life-affirming piece of wonder' Julie Hesmondhalgh
Miriam hasn't left her house in three years, and cannot raise her voice above a whisper. She still lives in the shadow of her dead mother... But today she has had enough, and is finally ready to rejoin the outside world.
Meanwhile, Ralph has made the mistake of opening a closet door, only to discover that his wife Sadie doesn't love him... And so he decides to leave his home.
Miriam and Ralph's chance meeting in a wood during a summer storm leads to an unusual friendship, and quirky twists. Rachel Elliott's loveable characters confront the hardest things in life with delicious humour and steady courage. Because sometimes, our over-connected world can seem too much for just one person…
Elliott's excellent first novel, set in England's Beckford Gardens, is a gentle yet unflinching look inside the heads of two very different characters whose paths cross when their lives are turning upside-down. Miriam Delaney, 35, hasn't gone farther than her backyard in three years, and has yet to deal with multiple traumas inflicted by her now-dead, allegedly insane mother and her father's supposed death. Meanwhile, Ralph Swoon, 37, feels adrift in his marriage and his life. When Miriam finally gets up the guts to go out her front door, a summer storm drives her and Ralph to a chance meeting in the woods. The shy Miriam and confused Ralph find a rare connection and confidant in each other. While there are many perspective changes, the story flows seamlessly between characters and story lines. The characters' psyches are fascinating and complex, and the plot's curveballs give enough to keep the reader engaged to the very end.