The Wake, By Jeremy Page

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Jeremy Page's second novel opens as an unhinged stallion charges at a young family in an East Anglian field. It's a thrilling and primeval scene.

The subsequent novel follows bereaved father, Guy, as he takes to sea in a Dutch barge, half hoping for the worst. While he casts his boat adrift, he starts a diary about how life might have been if his four-year-old daughter had survived, and his wife hadn't left him.

In between fantasies, he cooks up fashionably frugal meals and feels stirrings for a visiting young woman and her mother - activities suggesting that he hasn't completely lost his appetite for life.