England, in the mid-fifties. Meg Bailey has always aspired to live a respectable life. With her best friend, Roxane, she moves from secondary school to an un-bohemian art college in Oxford. Under the watchful eye of Roxanne’s mother, Mrs Wheeler, the two girls flourish in Oxfordian society. But Meg constantly longs for more. Not content to stay in Oxford, she finds a job in London. Roxane stays behind and marries Dick, a man of Mrs Wheeler’s choosing. As Meg’s independence grows, Dick suddenly appears in London for work. A connection to her past, Meg and Dick’s friendship flourishes, blurring the lines of loyalty between what is and what was in a way that changes life for these three friends forever.
As sharp and starling now as when it was written, this unflinching and candid book of love and betrayal encapsulates Diana Athill’s gift of storytelling at its finest.