Hope and Michael celebrate their first anniversary together with rain-soaked, drink-fuelled sex that results in conception. She s a librarian at the local university; he s a stock-controller at a plastics company, with a fascination for the migration of the Monarch butterfly and also for his best friend s girlfriend, the copper-fringed Evette. Hope and Michael view the nine months ahead with honesty, anxiety, duplicity, excitement but very differently indeed. A network of eccentric friends weaves in and out of the expectant couple s lives, offering advice and testing their relationship. At Hope s 30th birthday party, the gift of an Austrian painting turns into an astonishing historical quest. Meanwhile Michael connects more closely with his own family, as this contemporary couple struggle to negotiate the meaning of their future together, and the possibility of an entirely new life.
Alan Apperley is Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Wolverhampton University and a member of 1980s cult post-punk band The Nightingales, who played more Peel sessions than any other band excluding The Fall. The Nightingales re-formed in 2004, with Alan on lead guitar. He lives in Staffordshire with his wife and children.