Author(s): Francesca Kay
Jennet Mallow is born in Yorkshire in the 1920s but her interest in art and creativity alienates her from her family, her father who is a priest, her conventional sister and her emotionally stunted mother. Jennet moves to London in search of a more exciting life and finds it in her new environment and in the handsome and enigmatic figure of the painter David Heaton. When Jennet falls pregnant, her parents more or less force the two to marry. In the post-war austerity of the 1940s, the young couple struggles to make ends meet and Jennet finds that her home life is gradually eroding everything she has fought to achieve. Aware that David is becoming increasingly reliant on drink and tired of the dank and drab bed-sit in which they live, Jennet suggests they move to Spain. There, the bright blue skies, warm air and sunlit beaches give the couple and their children a new lease of life. Jennet begins to paint again and an agent takes an interest in her work. But as Jennet's own career begins to take off, her relationship with David sours and the two enter a destructive spiral with tragic consequences.
Shortlisted for Orange Award for New Writers 2009 and Independent Booksellers' Book of the Year Award: Adults' Book of the Year 2010.
'A new star has arrived on the literary scene.' -- AN Wilson EVENING STANDARD 'What distinguishes this tale...is Kay's fine balance of romance and realism and her beautiful evocation of how paintings reflect their creator's experiences.' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'one dazzingly brilliantly executed scene after another...A marvel.' INDEPENDENT 'An impressive debut novel that paints a vivid portrait of a woman torn between the conflicts of creativity and familial duty.' DAILY EXPRESS 'sensual...Francesca Kay knows - and shows - how good art takes on a life all of its own.' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 'an absorbing and ambitious debut' GUARDIAN 'The supple, verbless sentences of Fracesca Kay's accomplished first novel create a sensuous prose full of colour, taste and smell.' -- Anthony Cummins DAILY TELEGRAPH "This is an outstanding literary debut, with masterful variation in style and characterisation of deep insight" BOOKSELLER PAPERBACK PREVIEW 'The most astounding success lies in the conjuring up of a lifetime's work - a glorious succession of paintings brought to sustained, poetic life.' ART NEWSPAPER
Francesca Kay grew up in South-east Asia and India and has subsequently lived in Jamaica, the United States, Germany and Ireland. She now lives in Oxford with her family and works in British-Irish relations.