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Synopsis

At once troubling, funny, and joyous, this is an intimate, lyrical, and deeply moving novel of an ordinary family crumbling under the weight of past mistakes. Isabel Ashdown's captivating debut vividly brings to life the gentility of a 1950s childhood, the free-spirited hedonism of the 1960s, and the urban domesticity of 1980s Portsmouth. 13-year-old Jake's world is unraveling as his father and older brother leave home, and his mother plunges into alcoholic freefall. Despite his turbulent home life, Jake is an irrepressible teenager and his troubled mother is not the only thing on his mind: there's the hi-fi he's saving up for, his growing passion for Greek mythology (and his pretty classics teacher), and the anticipation of brief visits to see his dad. When his parents reconcile, life finally seems to be looking up. Their first family holiday, announced over scampi and chips in the Royal Oak, promises to be the icing on the cake—until long-unspoken family secrets begin to surface.

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