I like it as much as any novel I've read this year. The comedy lies, as in the best and subtlest of comedies, in the exquisite patterning, they way in which events bounce and reverberate' New Statesman
George is an unusually successful travel agent, providing other people with the adventures he dare not risk. Though content to wrap himself in fantasies, he is haunted by the fact that 'the important things happened whilst his back was turned' and by the belief that he fathered the daughter- now a desirable young woman- of his best friends, Sam and Claire. To avoid temptation, George stumbles into a disastrous marriage and determines to mould himself into a supportive husband. But a holiday in Turkey snaps his private world when George finds himself in the midst of intrigue and murder and is forced to acknowledge that life is not the fairy-tale he'd imagined. In this superbly constructed and mercilessly observed novel, part comedy, part thriller, Nina Bawden exposes the fictions we impose on our lives.
Nina Bawden (1925-2012) was one of Britain's best-loved writers for both adults and children. Several of her children's books - Carrie's War, a Phoenix Award winner;The Peppermint Pig, which won the Guardian Fiction Award; and Keeping Henry - have become contemporary classics. She wrote over forty novels, slightly more than half of which are for adults, and she was shortlisted for the 1987 Man Booker Prize for Circles of Deceit. She received the prestigious S T Dupont Golden Pen Award for a lifetime's contribution to literature in 2004, and in 2010 The Birds on the Trees was shortlisted for the Lost Booker of 1970.