A respectable married man becomes unstuck in Penelope Lively’s witty take on love, literature and the dangers of middle-aged folly.
Mark is working on the life of Gilbert Strong - a writer about whom he thinks he knows everything. A happily married man, dedicated to a life of letters, Mark somehow manages to fall in love with Strong’s granddaughter, a vague young woman more interested in bedding plants and alpines than books or passion. As the summer of Mark’s obsessions steams along, he begins to understand that nothing is ever exactly what it seems - certainly not Gilbert Strong. And not himself either.