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The novel begins as Michael, a middle-aged man of means, is dressing for dinner at a friend's country house in Ireland. As he descends the grand staircase, he spots a small painting of a landing with an old linen press and the white marble statue of an angel.
In the background is a woman clad in a dark green dress. During dinner, Michael comments on the painting to his hosts but they say there is no woman in the picture. When Michael goes up to bed later, he sees that they are correct.
This is only the first in a series of incidents that lead Michael to question his grip on reality. His wife Elilzabeth is unsettled by the changes she sees in a man she originally married because he was dependable and steady, not because she loved him. Suddenly she is aware that she has never really known Michael and as he changes, she sees glimpses of someone she could fall in love with.
Michael, in the meantime, is disturbed by events up at his family's ancestral home in the wilds of Scotland and by a past that he is threatening to destroy everything, and everyone, he has ever loved.
Author Biography: Paul Torday was born in 1946 and read English Literature at Pembroke College, Oxford. He spent the next 30 years working in engineering and in industry, after which he scaled back his business responsibilities to fulfil a long-harboured ambition - to write.
He burst on to the literary scene in 2006 with his first novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, an immediate bestseller. He is married with two sons by a previous marriage and has two stepsons and lives close to the River North Tyne.
A bleak and irony-laden Faustian tale. Torday can write and his wit and eye are equally keen when it comes to social satire. [ The Age] A superb piece of writing, brilliantly juxtaposing the sordid details of an alcoholic's degradation, as viewed by others, with Wilberforce's own refined sense of spiritual and sensual elevation. [ The Weekend Australian] Clever shifts in time add pathos to his downfall in this impressive, mature work. [ Sun Herald] A witty satire [ The Courier Mail]
Published: March 2009
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.5 x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.4