Accidents in the Home
By Tessa Hadley
(Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805070644, 256pp.)
Publication Date: May 2002
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A powerful literary debut chronicling a year in the life of one thoroughly modern family
Clare Verey, a twenty-nine-year-old mother of three, bakes her own bread and grinds her own spices. She has a comfortable home in the suburbs and a devoted husband. Why is it, then, that when her best friend's lover appears in her life he has the power to invert her world? Why is the desire for more never satisfied?
So begins Accidents in the Home, a novel that exposes the emotional underbelly of a modern-day family. Clare's narrative is deftly intertwined with the stories of her extended family: her mother, Marian, the clever daughter of a Dostoevsky scholar whose husband leaves her for a beautiful young art student; Clare's half brother, Toby, a dreamy boy who prefers to view life through the lens of a camera; her troubled younger half sister, Tamsin, who develops an apparatus of taboos and rituals to restore order to her chaotic past.
In the world Tessa Hadley has created, family is no longer a steady foundation but a complex web of marriages, divorces, half siblings, and stepchildren that expands with every new connection and betrayal. Accidents in the Home offers a startling, intimate portrait of family life in our time.
Tessa Hadley teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University College in Cardiff, Wales, and recently completed a book on the novels of Henry James. Accidents in the Home is her first novel.
". . . Hadley charts both the complex workings of the outside world and the tangled inner landscapes of the mind and heart . . ."
--Elizabeth Graver, author of The Honey Thief