One of the great Jennifer Johnston's most critically acclaimed and moving novels
Constance Keating has lived a life of internal exile, alienated from her family and from Ireland.
Now she has returned to her family home to die. While that painful, messy process takes place she replays, like a home movie, the fragments of her past. And, as the festooned Christmas tree awaits its day, so Constance also waits, hoping her child's father will come and that the final outcome will be on her terms.
It is difficult to convey the marvellous quality of this book. Constance Keating is a major fictional portrait, her death finally noble - Daily Telegraph
She is a skilful writer, using short flashbacks... in such a way that each page widens the picture. You start with a solitary woman, dying alone; you finish with a past, a history, great tenderness and no sentimentality - Spectator
The ending brings more than a lump to the throat. It is magnificent - Daily Express
A most distinguished novel - Irish Press
Jennifer Johnston is one of the foremost Irish writers of her, or any, generation. She has won the Whitbread Prize (THE OLD JEST), the Evening Standard Best First Novel Award (for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS), the Yorkshire Post Award, Best Book of the Year (twice, for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS and HOW MANY MILES TO BABYLON?). She was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize with SHADOWS ON OUR SKIN.