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Summary

For fans of Celeste Ng comes a transfixing debut novel about how life’s small decisions can ultimately yield the most powerful consequences.

Everyone always wants to know why relationships fail. It’s a spiteful curiosity thing, schadenfreude, but also a self-preservation thing. People want to understand how to avoid the fall.

The answer is complicated. There isn’t one reason, one event. It has something to do with smoking cigarettes and drinking all night. It takes into account thousands of hours of labour on a small house, projects finished and unfinished. It is late-night conversations and inside jokes and making love and having a child. The answer is wrapped up, shrouded and ensconced in prioritisation, ambition and work. Caring about these things is not the problem. Not caring about them is death.

Emma has settled into her hometown bar for the evening. It was in this very room that she met Lucas a few years back, on a blind date. Nine months ago, in unimaginable circumstances, they divorced.

As Emma listens to the locals’ banter, key facts about her life story begin to emerge and the past comes bearing down on her like a freight train.

A powerhouse in the business world, why has she ended up here, now a regular in the last bar on the edge of a small town? What is she running away from? And what is she willing to give up in order to recapture the love she has lost?

As Emma teeters on the edge of oblivion, becoming more booze-soaked by the hour, her night begins to spin out of control with shocking results.

©2020 Anna Bruno (P)2020 Simon & Schuster UK

Critic reviews

"Seen through keen eyes and full of deep feeling, Ordinary Hazards delves into the psyche of a woman grappling with grief, loss, and the burdens of inheritance. Anna Bruno vividly renders the messiness of a single human life in all its joy and heartbreak." (Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had)

"Crisp, haunting, and intelligent. Beneath the surface of this booze-soaked, small town, dive bar novel lies a devastating story of loss, guilt, and grief. Bruno’s narrator proves a dark, funny, unflinching companion as you descend with her, step by step, towards the revelation of what has led her to the bar tonight." (Stephen Markley, author of Ohio)

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