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A captivating and deeply personal novel from one of Australia’s most respected authors.
Athena and Dexter live a happy but insular life, bound by routine and the care of their young sons. When Elizabeth, an old friend from Dexter’s university days, turns up with her much younger sister, Vicki, and her lover, Philip, she brings an enticing world to their doorstep. And Athena finds herself straining at the confines of her life.
Helen Garner portrays her characters with a clear eye for their dreams, their insecurities and their deep humanity in this intimate and engaging short novel, which was first published in 1984.
"This is the power of Garner’s writing. She drills into experience and comes up with such clean, precise distillations of life, once you read them they enter into you. Successive generations of writers have felt the keen influence of her work and for this reason Garner has become part of us all." (The Australian)
"Garner wears her mastery lightly – the novel never draws undue attention to its own modernist tricks. Unfolding, as the title suggests, like a halting piece of music, its effects are subtle and unexpected." (Harper's Bazaar)