Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Sun dog, By Monique Roffey

Roffey's debut novel, written seven years before her Orange-prize shortlisted second, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, is remarkable not for its plot - which navigates her lovelorn central character, August's present-day reality in a Shepherd's Bush delicatessen with the ghosts of his past - but for the richness with which Roffey brings ordinary scenes to life.

The real achievement of this debut is her evident relish and aptitude for words, with which she infuses a painterly three-dimensionality into characters and scenes.

Structured around the seasons, it is a family drama and love story - flecked with magical realism and absorbing on all counts - but best read for the pleasure of sinking into Roffey's lusciously rendered everyday world.