Depuis ses premiers livres, Tessa Hadley explore le réseau complexe des vies conjugales, amoureuses et sentimentales de ses contemporains. L'intrigue de ce huitième roman confronte l'histoire de plusieurs générations autour du choix libérateur de son héroïne, qui prend tous les risques pour assumer son épanouissement personnel.
Dans l'Angleterre de la fin des années 1960, Phyllis Fischer, épouse et mère quadragénaire, s'éprend de Nicholas Knight, le jeune fils d'amis de son mari. Pour lui, elle abandonne son foyer et les conventions d'un ordre social devenu moralement inacceptable. Tout en s'apercevant que son amant n'est pas exactement celui qui lui convient, elle tombe enceinte et décide de garder l'enfant, qu'elle est heureuse d'élever.
Dans ce style fluide et raffiné qui lui permet de sonder admirablement la psychologie de ses personnages, Tessa Hadley décrit aussi bien le quotidien des classes sociales supérieures que la vie de bohème et les idées nouvelles à l'heure de la révolution sexuelle. La condition féminine est une question centrale, sans être traitée sous l'aspect du militantisme : seule compte la volonté d'une femme désireuse d'être elle-même en découvrant que l'âge mûr ne saurait être un obstacle aux plaisirs de la chair. Phyllis découvre le droit de conjuguer jouissance et maternité en bousculant tous les tabous.
Alexandr, Christine, Lydia et Zachary partagent une amitié très intime depuis leur rencontre alors qu'ils avaient vingt ans. Trente ans plus tard, Alex et Christine reçoivent un appel bouleversé de Lydia : Zach est mort. Ce décès les touche profondément. Tous s'accordent pour dire que Zach était le plus sain et le plus gentil d'entre eux, celui qu'ils ne pouvaient se permettre de perdre. Plutôt que de les rapprocher, la perte de Zach déforme leur relation, faisant remonter à la surface les enchevêtrements passés, les griefs tus. Ce qui aurait pu les unir se transforme alors en colère et amertume.
Occasions tardives explore les entrelacs des relations les plus intimes. Sous la surface des arrangements et compromis de l'existence reposent d'autres configurations, différentes, insondables, qui, bien que semblant appartenir au passé, demeurent la trame essentielle des amitiés et des amours. Et quand un fil rompt, tout se détricote, la trame réaffirme sa présence.
"Trois soeurs et un frère se retrouvent dans la maison de leurs grands-parents, à Kington, en Angleterre, pour quelques longues semaines d'été. L'endroit est plein des souvenirs de leur enfance et de leur passé mais ils envisagent de le vendre. Sous une surface idyllique, les tensions se font peu à peu sentir : les invités sont perçus comme des intrus, les enfants découvrent un secret effrayant les emportant dans un jeu dangereux, la passion surgit là où on ne l'attendait pas, perturbant l'équilibre familial. Un certain mode de vie - bourgeois, cultivé, ritualisé, anglican - touche à son inévitable fin.
""Tessa Hadley possède une subtilité psychologique rappelant celle d'Henry James et une touche ironique digne de Jane Austen."" The Guardian"
Two lives stretched between two cities, two stories bound by the London train.Paul sets out in search of his eldest daughter Pia, who has gone missing somewhere in London. At first he thinks he wants to rescue her, but as time passes he is drawn deeper into the excitements of the capital, and a life lived in jeopardy - he forgets his own way home. In the opposite direction, Cora is moving back to Cardiff, to the house she inherited from her parents. She is escaping her marriage and the disappointments of her London life. And then she receives a telephone call to say that her husband has disappeared...
The new collection of short stories from award-winning author Tessa Hadley.Lottie announces at the breakfast table that she is getting married. The youngest daughter of a large and close-knit family, Lottie is nineteen but looks five years younger. Her fiancé is Edgar Lennox, a composer of religious music and lecturer at Lottie's university, forty-five years her senior.It is a story of romantic dreams and daily reality, family loyalties tested but holding, and the comedy and solace to be found in small moments. Evoking a world that expands beyond the pages, it marks the beginning of what is an astonishing collection to treasure.
All the qualities that readers praised in The London Train are present in Clever Girl, Tessa Hadley's brilliant new novel. It follows the story of Stella, from her childhood as the daughter of a single mother in a Bristol bedsit in the 1960s into the mysterious shallows of her middle age. The story is full of drama - violent deaths, an abrupt end to Stella's schooldays, two sons by different fathers who aren't around to see the boys grow up - but as ever it is her observation of ordinary lives, of the way men and women think and feel and relate to one another, that dazzles. Yes, you think. This is how it is.
An improbable coincidence brings Clare back into contact with someone she once had sex with at a teenage party; complicatedly, he is now going out with her best friend, Helly. The encounter needn't have meant anything - it could just have been funny, or embarrassing - but it seems to have the power to shake up everything in Clare's life. Clare is married with three small children, she bakes her own bread and buys her clothes from the charity shop. Helly is an actress and has her golden curves pasted up on billboards ten foot high. And each of them seems to want what the other has. Clare's story is intertwined with other stories of her extended family. Her father has been married three times and left a trail of children. Accidents in the Home dips in and out of the lives of this complicated, close, fraught family, reaching out into the past for explanation and illumination as well as across the present. It is the debut of a quite formidable fictional talent.
Joyce Stevenson is thirteen when her widowed mother takes them to live with Aunt Vera, a formidable teacher neglected by her unfaithful husband. Joyce watches the two sisters - her aunt's unbending dedication to the life of the mind, her mother worn down by housework - and thinks that each of them is powerless in her own way. For Joyce, art school provides an escape route, and there she falls in love with one of her teachers. When she marries and has children, she is determined to manage her relationship with a new freedom, and to save herself from the mistakes of the previous generation. But her daughter Zoe, growing up, comes to see Joyce as a bourgeois housewife, and when Zoe has a baby of her own, she demands more from motherhood...
Everyday life crackles with the electricity sparking between men and women, between parents and children, between friends. A son confesses to his mother that he is cheating on his girlfriend; a student falls in love with her lecturer and embarks on an affair with a man in the pub who looks just like him. Young mothers pent-up in childcare dream treacherously of other possibilities; a boy becomes aware of the woman, a guest at his parents' holiday home, who is pressing up too close against him on the beach. Hidden away inside the present, the past is explosive; the future can open unexpectedly out of any chance encounter; ordinary moments are illuminated with lightning flashes of dread or pleasure. These stories about family life are somehow undomesticated and dangerous.
Longlisted for the Orange Prize for FictionKate Flynn has always been a clever girl, brought up to believe in herself as something special. Now Kate is forty-three and has given up her university career in London to come home and look after her mother at Firenze, their big house by a lake in Cardiff. When Kate meets David Roberts, a friend from the old days, she begins to obsess about him: she knows it's because she's bored and hasn't got anything else to do, but she can't stop. Adapting to a new way of life, the connections Kate forges in her new home are to have painful consequences, as the past begins to cast its long shadow over the present...
'Few writers give me such consistent pleasure' Zadie SmithFour siblings meet up in their grandparents' old house for three long, hot summer weeks. But under the idyllic surface lie shattering tensions.Roland has come with his new wife, and his sisters don't like her. Fran has brought her children, who soon uncover an ugly secret in a ruined cottage in the woods. Alice has invited Kasim, an outsider, who makes plans to seduce Roland's teenage daughter. And Harriet, the eldest, finds her quiet self-possession ripped apart when passion erupts unexpectedly. Over the course of the holiday, a familiar way of life falls apart forever.'Exquisite' The Times'Wonderful' Guardian'Magnificent' Sunday Times