David Hargreaves

Under the Table
  • Under the Table

  • Dominic da Silva, in his late fifties, has terminal cancer. This diagnosis prompts him to return to the diaries he kept from his boarding school years into his early thirties.

    These notebooks conjure lost tableaux of Britain in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s: with the emotional repression and genteel rural poverty of his youth, through to upbeat accounts of later joyful excess and profound friendship.

    Dominic has the chameleon qualities of the true survivor: by the age of thirty, he has carved out a promising career and is married to a wealthy young lawyer, herself the very epitome of upward mobility. But he’s cursed, it seems, by wanting everything to which he’s supremely ill-suited.

    A quarter of a century later, it all looks very different. His has, in many ways, been a thwarted existence, and Dominic’s diaries chart his lurching journey towards self-recognition – from grand house parties to a hostel for the homeless, from an apparently perfect life to arrest and ignominy.

    Under the Table is a powerful homage to truth and friendship – and a recognition of the toughness upon which both depend.

David Hargreaves studied history at Worcester College, Oxford, before becoming a history teacher, first at Stamford School in Lincolnshire, then from April 1986 at Westminster School in London, where he became head of the sixth form and a boarding housemaster. He taught at Westminster for a total of twenty-eight years until 2014. He now divides his time between running his education consultancy and writing, and is a governor of a London preparatory school. He publishes regular articles on history, including a weekly essay about the First World War published in centuryjournal.com. He lives in north London.

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