'Diana Evans is a lyrical and glorious writer; a precise poet of the human heart' Naomi Alderman
‘You can take a leap, do something off the wall, something reckless. It’s your last chance, and most people miss it.’
South London, 2008. Two couples find themselves at a moment of reckoning, on the brink of acceptance or revolution. Melissa has a new baby and doesn’t want to let it change her but, in the crooked walls of a narrow Victorian terrace, she begins to disappear. Michael, growing daily more accustomed to his commute, still loves Melissa but can’t quite get close enough to her to stay faithful. Meanwhile out in the suburbs, Stephanie is happy with Damian and their three children, but the death of Damian’s father has thrown him into crisis – or is it something, or someone, else? Are they all just in the wrong place? Are any of them prepared to take the leap?
Set against the backdrop of Barack Obama’s historic election victory, Ordinary People is an intimate, immersive study of identity and parenthood, sex and grief, friendship and aging, and the fragile architecture of love. With its distinctive prose and irresistible soundtrack, it is the story of our lives, and those moments that threaten to unravel us.
As a child Lucas thought that all children who'd lost their parents lived on water. Now a restless young man still living with his sister Denise on their West London narrowboat, he determines to find out more about the unexplained disappearance of his father, the charismatic Jamaican dancer, Antoney Matheus.
Thus unfolds a journey from fifties Kingston to Sixties Notting Hill and the host of unforgettable characters who peopled Antoney's theatrical world, most importantly Carla, Lucas's mother. The result is a haunting family mystery of absence and inheritance, the battle between love and creativity, and what drives a young man to take flight...
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WHITBREAD FIRST NOVEL AWARD
Identical twins, Georgia and Bessi, live in the loft of 26 Waifer Avenue. It is a place of beanbags, nectarines and secrets, and visitors must always knock before entering. Down below there is not such harmony. Their Nigerian mother puts cayenne pepper on her Yorkshire pudding and has mysterious ways of dealing with homesickness; their father angrily roams the streets of Neasden, prey to the demons of his Derbyshire upbringing. Forced to create their own identities, the Hunter children build a separate universe. Older sister Bel discovers sex, high heels and organic hairdressing, the twins prepare for a flapjack empire, and baby sister Kemy learns to moonwalk for Michael Jackson. It is when the reality comes knocking that the fantasies of childhood start to give way. How will Georgia and Bessi cope in a world of separateness and solitude, and which of them will be stronger?
Diana Evans is an author and critic whose novels include her award-winning and critically acclaimed debut, 26a. She lives in London and her latest novel is Ordinary People.
Diana Evans is a graduate of the University of East Anglia's Creative Writing MA and has published short fiction in a number of anthologies. She has worked as a journalist and arts critic for Marie Claire, the Evening Standard, The Source and Pride magazine, and writes regularly for the Independent and the Stage. She lives in West London.