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Summary

Family life. Reputation. It took a lifetime to build and a second to wreck. Only her work remains.

Eve Laing, once the muse of an infamous painter, is now - 40 years later - an artist herself. But she feels she has sacrificed her career for her family and she resents the global success of her old college roommate, now a celebrity of the international conceptual art scene. When Eve embarks on her most ambitious work yet, she takes a wrecking ball to her comfortable life, jettisoning her marriage for a beautiful young lover, a drifter half her age, who seems to share her single-minded creative vision.

Nightshade charts Eve’s nocturnal walk through London, from her former family home in the west of the city back to her studio, a converted factory in the east, where her recently completed masterpiece hangs and a fatal reckoning awaits. 

This brilliant and timely novel explores sexual politics and the excesses of the contemporary art world, asking if the true artist must relinquish the ordinary human need for love and connection. Can the creative urge be the most destructive - even deadliest - impulse of all?

©2019 Annalena McAfee (P)2019 Penguin Audio

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Excellent novel, beautifully narrated

I’ve been listening to Nightshade every night this week, and I’m enjoying it immensely. Eve is a wonderful creation and the author’s depiction of the petty jealousies and immense egos of the art world are spot on. If I were reading the novel rather than listening to it I would be underlining some sentences—lines of cut-glass prose and precise and almost brutal observation. So often a good book is let down by the narrator but Jane Maud reads Nightshade brilliantly. Hers really is a 5-star performance, full of subtlety and nuance that makes the characters real and memorable. I’d certainly buy another audiobook voiced by this narrator.

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