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Tessa Hadley - The Past

Episode 8

Duration: 15 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC Radio 4 FMLatest broadcast: on BBC Radio 4 Extra

Today we return to the present as romance blooms, under the childrens' watchful eyes, and the stakes are rising. Sian Thomas reads Tessa Hadley's powerful and haunting new novel, a beautifully observed portrait of a family and the change wrought by time across the generations.

Three middle-aged sisters and a brother meet up in their grandparents' old house for three long, hot summer weeks. Under the idyllic surface, there are immediate tensions. Secrets, misunderstandings and passion play out as the characters shift and reappraise and a way of life - bourgeois, literate, ritualised - winds down to its inevitable end.

While the siblings circle each other, and the adolescents approach each other, the children watch and come to their own conclusions.

Tessa Hadley is one of Britain's finest writers, an acute observer of character, time and place and the most published short story writer in the New Yorker in recent years.

The reader is Sian Thomas
The abridger is Sally Marmion
The producer is Di Speirs Show less

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