(CHATTO & WINDUS, 256 PP, £16.99)
Tablet bookshop price £15.29 • Tel 020 7799 4064
If one was to spin a fable to illustrate the truth of Philip Larkin’s “They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do”, this would be it. But it is no fable; it is searingly true. The author, at 14, was taken into her mother Malabar’s confidence, and her life spun out of orbit.
Just five words whispered by Malabar, “Ben Souther just kissed me”, changed everything – for Malabar, breathless with anticipation of an affair with her husband’s closest friend, and for her reluctant accomplice, Rennie, in thrall both to her mother and to the commands of adult passion.