A deeply affecting love story set in the gritty yet magnificent theater world of 1970’s London by the award-winning, bestselling Sadie Jones, author of The Uninvited Guests and The Outcast
Leaving behind an emotionally disastrous childhood in a provincial northern town, budding playwright Luke Kanowski begins a new life in London that includes Paul Driscoll, an aspiring producer who will become his best friend, and Leigh Radley, Paul's girlfriend. Talented and ambitious, the trio found a small theater company that enjoys unexpected early success. Then, one fateful evening, Luke meets Nina Jacobs, a dynamic and emotionally damaged actress he cannot forget, even after she drifts into a marriage with a manipulative theater producer.
As Luke becomes a highly sought after playwright, he stumbles in love, caught in two triangles where love requited and unrequited, friendship, and art will clash with terrible consequences for all involved.
Fallout is an elegantly crafted novel whose characters struggle to escape the various cataclysms of their respective pasts. Falling in love convinces us we are the pawns of the gods; Fallout brings us firmly into the psyche of romantic love—its sickness and its ecstasy.
Jones's latest (after The Uninvited Guests) follows the career of Luke Kanowski, who leaves behind his dysfunctional family in Northern England and moves to London in the late 1960s to pursue a career as a playwright. He is soon befriended by aspiring producer Paul Driscoll and Paul's girlfriend, Leigh Radley; together, the three start a small theater company called Graft. The trio's fulfilling artistic life together gradually comes under the strain of Luke's compulsive womanizing and Leigh's unrequited attraction to him. Their rocky triangle is further threatened by Nina Jacobs, who has been groomed by her mother, a failed actress, for a life on the stage; Luke becomes obsessed with Nina's melancholy beauty, but her marriage to an abusive theater producer, Tony, complicates their romance. As Luke and Nina embark on a torrid love affair, Luke finds success on his own as a playwright and is forced to choose between his hard-to-please beloved and the friends who have nursed his ambitions. An engrossing melodrama of theater life, the novel's only drawback is Jones's tendency toward precious turns of phrase. Her talent emerges most in the absorbing plot, which convincingly shows how friends can be torn apart by lust and ambition.