British suburbanites wrestle with the trials of midlife: “Smart, crisp insight and lacerating wit . . . The feel of a Nick Hornby novel with a little more teeth” (Publishers Weekly).
When Belinda discovers her husband is having an affair, she’s furious, hurt, and bent on leveling the score. But Belinda isn’t the only one in her affluent suburban neighborhood suffering the indignities and disappointments of middle age. Instead of resting comfortably in the glow of earlier good decisions, she and her neighbors have just as much angst as they did in their twenties.
One of Belinda’s friends fears her own husband is unfaithful, too. But when she finds out there’s no other woman—that he’s found God instead—this, to her, is the biggest betrayal. A renowned artist, near death, is convinced that his entire life has been a waste. And a schoolteacher, upon achieving his dream of selling a screenplay to Hollywood, finds himself buffeted by the maddening whims of the studio executives, who are no longer looking for a serious drama, but a low-brow comedy about a talking dog.
Yet, even as the grownups in this searching, beautifully told story try to claw back the happiness that has slipped away, two college kids who believed they’d never find love discover a glimmer of hope . . .
Screenwriter (Gladiator) and novelist Nicholson follows up The Secret of Everyday Life with this sharp ensemble tale of suburban English drama, missed connections, intersecting fates, and good old-fashioned miscommunication. Belinda married, in her 50s, and "transparent in all her needs" considers an affair, only to discover that her husband, Tom, has already beat her to the punch with Meg, who truly loves Tom and remains "compliant as ever" in waiting for him to need her, too. Meanwhile, Matt, a plumber, loves Meg and vies for her attention. Then there's the college love triangle of Chloe, Jack, and Alice, and an aging artist who falls prey to his own disappointment and sense of failure while still managing to create art and inspire other young minds. It's a busy story with buckets of desire, unrequited love, disillusionment, growing pains, and strained friendships and Nicholson juggles all of it with ease, cracking wise and counterbalancing the raw emotion with smart, crisp insight and lacerating wit, giving this the feel of a Nick Hornby novel with a little more teeth.