The Still Point, By Amy Sackville

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The Independent Culture

Winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys prize, Sackville's debut novel marries the story of a doomed polar expedition with the story of a modern relationship in stasis.

Arctic explorer Edward Mackley embarks for the North Pole in 1899 leaving behind his new wife, Emily.

Awaiting her husband's increasingly unlikely return, Emily finds herself trapped in a life of stony endurance with her brother-in-law and his wife.

Back in the present, Emily's great-great niece, Julia, spends a hot summer's day unearthing her ancestor's legacy, and reassessing her views on romantic love.

Her finickity husband, Simon, is on the verge of an affair. Sackville's dream-like but precise narrative shifts fluidly between the two worlds in a novel of elegant artifice and icy glamour.