Paperback Review: Married Love, By Tessa Hadley Vintage £8.99

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The Independent Culture

Tessa Hadley's brief stories locate poignant drama in quotidian scenes. In "A Mouthful of Cut Glass" a vicar's daughter visits her boyfriend's working-class family and feels out of place; in "Journey Home" an academic worries about his emotionally fragile sister when she changes her status on Facebook; in "Because the Night" two young children find ways to amuse themselves during their parents' wild parties.

Lottie, the headstrong bride of the title story, has a "gift ... the occasional lightning flash of vision so strong that it revealed to others, for a moment, the world as it was from her perspective". Hadley herself is blessed with a similar ability, punctuating these low-key tales with acute descriptions that act like little epiphanies, vividly illuminating aspects of character and place.