Marise Tomelty is a child-wife who dislikes sex and is terrified of open spaces. Ralph Shilling lives in the flat above the Tomelty's and is a dealer in pesticides. Marise's commercial traveller husband casually mentions that he recognizes Ralph as John Brown, acquitted for lack of evidence of an atrocious double murder. Nevertheless, Marise encourages Ralph's attentions, in need of the exciting combination of passion and fear. A serious exploration of the nature of our experience of ourselves and each other, of the tug between body and soull, life and death, truth and fantasy, this is an extraordinary novel written in the precise ,impeccable prose for which A L Barker is so famed.
A.L. Barker left school at sixteen and after the war was employed by the BBC. Her first short story collection, INNOCENTS, won the first ever Somerset Maugham Award in 1947. The author of eleven novels and ten collections of stories, she died in 2002.