Author(s): Hilary Mantel
From the violent townships of South Africa to the windswept countryside of Norfolk, this is an epic yet subtle family saga about what happens when trust is broken, when secrets are buried and when lives must be torn apart before they can be put back together again. Ralph and Anna Eldred live in the big Red House in Norfolk, raising their four children and devoting their lives to charity. The constant flood of 'good souls and sad cases', children plucked from the squalor of the East London streets for a breath of fresh countryside air, hides the growing crises in their own family, the disillusionment of their children, the fissures in their marriage. Memories of their time as missionaries in South Africa and Botswana, of the terrible African tragedies that have shaped the rest of their lives, refuse to be put to rest and threaten to destroy the fragile peace they have built for themselves and their children. This is a breath takingly intelligent novel that asks the most difficult questions. Is there anything one can never forgive? Is tragedy ever deserved? Can you ever escape your own past?
'A beautifully crafted novel' Guardian 'There are very few novels that not only bristle with ideas but leave you asking questions about those ideas, again and again, your world turned upside down. Mantel has managed to do this.' Sunday Times 'The best book she's written ... She writes about punishing subjects so freshly it is as if they had never been written about before.' Observer 'It has the tension of a first-rate thriller and the breadth of a family saga ... Its compassion and its intellectual energy mark her as the novelist of her generation who will achieve a lasting greatness.' Literary Review 'A complex and highly intelligent portrayal of injustice, bereavement and the loss of faith ... Hilary Mantel has created that rare thing, a page-turner with a profound moral dimension.' Daily Telegraph 'A work of exquisite craftsmanship that asks enormous questions.' Independent
Hilary Mantel was born in Derbyshire. She was educated at a convent and later studied law. After ten years abroad in Africa and the Middle East, she returned to Britain in 1985 to make a career as a writer. She is the author of eight novels. Her memoir, Giving Up the Ghost, and a collection of short stories, Learning To Talk, were published in 2003