A brilliant novel about the London of today - a shifting, exciting, dangerous place where people search for the meaning of home. Peopled with wonderful characters and, as is usual for this author, a provocative story about our times.
When a dead body is found in the Thames, caught in the chains of HMS Belfast, it begins a search for a missing woman and confirms a sense that in London a person can become invisible once outside their community - and that assumes they even have a community.
A policeman,a documentary film maker and an Irish nurse named Chrissie all respond to the death of the unknown woman in their own ways. London is a place of random meetings, shifting relationships - and some, like Chrissie intersect with many. The filmmaker and the policeman meanwhile have safe homes with wives - or do they? An immigrant family speaks their own language only privately; they have managed to integrate - or have they?
The wonderful Linda Grant weaves a tale around ideas of home; how London can be a place of exile or expulsion, how home can be a physical place or an idea. How all our lives intersect and how coincidence or the randomness of birth place can decide how we live and with whom.
Linda Grant is author of five non-fiction books and seven novels. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage in 2006. The Clothes on Their Backs was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008 and went on to win the South Bank Show Award. The Dark Circle was shortlisted for the 2017 Women's Prize for Fiction. Her latest novel, A Stranger City, was published in 2019. Linda Grant lives in London.