Set in the damp Fife countryside, Sue Peebles's suprisingly perky debut, given the subject matter, explores the impact of a father's stroke on his family.
Lecturer Lomond Friel, "the Ted Hughes of the maths department", is used to controlling his world, but after a stroke is reduced to a silent, immobile wreck.
His daughter Rosie, a radio presenter, and son, Jacob, are forced home to cope with his increasingly debilitating condition. His housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, continues to hold a torch for her old employer.
The familial tensions might be noxious, and the St Andrews air constantly tinged by the "delicate smell of kippers in milk", but Peebles's writing burns with a humour and grace that lends the novel an impressive intensity.