The retro pleasures of the Hampstead novel are revived in this highbrow love story that would do any beach bag proud. On a visit to Estonia, Jack Middleton, one of England's "most promising young composers", falls in love with waitress Kaja.
Back in North London, his newly pregnant wife, Millie – a well-heeled activist – awaits his return. Thorpe plots the consequences of Jack's adulterous liaison with voyeuristic pleasure. This expansive novel is packed with engagingly un-modish characters and eccentric detail. Thorpe's descriptions of the Baltic's lonelier shores are particularly evocative.