Stella was a clever girl, everyone thought so. Living with her mother and rather unsatisfactory stepfather in suburban respectability she reads voraciously, smokes until her voice is hoarse and dreams of a less ordinary life. When she meets Val, he seems to her to embody everything she longs for – glamour, ideas, excitement and the thrill of the unknown. But these things come at a price and one that Stella despite all her cleverness doesn’t realise until it is too late.
Few writers give me such consistent pleasure
She has such great psychological insights into human beings, which is rare. She is one of the best fiction writers writing today
As discrete entities, Hadley’s short stories are intense, miniature novels in themselves; bound together in a novel, they become quietly brilliant, offering an incisive exploration into how life’s individuals episodes add up to a meaningful whole.
Hadley is a writer of exceptional intelligence and skill and, for all the apparent conventionality of her vision, hers is a subtly subversive talent.
There is something reassuring yet deliciously unexpected about a Tessa Hadley novel.
From novels about parenting to making love last, here are some great books to read in your forties.
Tessa Hadley writes about relationships between lovers, friends, parents and children, with the sharpest of eyes so that you see things you'd never noticed before not just in writing, but in your own life too. Here, the VINTAGE team pick their favourite of her novels and short stories.