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New Fiction by Hephzibah Anderson

The author of Miss Garnet’s Angel packs her bags and sets off once again, this time in the company of fellow author Mr Gollghtly who, once upon a time, wrote a surprise bestseller: a comedy in the Chekhovian vein, about humankind’s loves, hopes, fears, lusts, idiocies, anxieties, false securities, vanities, dishonesties, fantasies, cruelties and general tendency to inveterate folly.

Years later, and tearing himself out of step with the modern world, he decides on a holiday in Great Calne – a fictional Devon village on the edge of Dartmoor – Where he aims to update his magnum opus, freshly re-titled That’s How Life Is.

Gollghtly is a convert to soap operas and he plans to take these as his model, but before long he is drawn into great Calne’s own, real-life soap opera, whose cast includes a truant schoolboy, a lady vicar and a buxom barmaid, and whose sly plot embraces love, secrets and tragedy.

No one it turns out is, is quite who they seem, least of all Gollghtly himself. But Vickers distinctiveness lies in her ability to temper the chintziness of her prose with almost savage insight as she daringly pursues answers to life’s biggest questions.

Daily Mail 8th August 2003.


 
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