Quite unlike her fair stepsisters, Lizzie is dark and secretive: 'Just like your father' says her mother. But what was her father like? Photos of him are hidden away; snatches of overheard conversation between her mother and her stepfather deepen the mystery. Only her best friend Savannah - also abandoned by her father when she was a baby - knows what it feels like to wonder, to try and piece together an earlier story. But when events propel Lizzie alone to London she stops wondering and starts searching...
Beautifully evoking the ache of childhood loss, the scrappy joys of chaotic families, and the hurt and relief of understanding, OUT OF THE PICTURE reveals Polly Samson's talent for laying bare the uncomfortable truths that lie just under the skin - in every family, in every secret.
A clerk in a London photo agency, 20-something Lizzie is trapped in an unhappy affair with her compulsively philandering married boss. For Lizzie, the likably neurotic heroine of Polly Samson's Out of the Picture, everything that's wrong with her life seems to lead back to her father, who abandoned the family when she was small and continues to obsess her. Samson's debut novel (which follows the story collection Lying in Bed) is a finely crafted diversion, but if there are no wrong notes, there's also not much that sets these characters apart from the distant parents and mournful young women who populate so many post-Mona Simpson coming-of-age novels.