This skillfully wrought examination of character and relationships opens with macabre impact. A bland newspaper report describes the discovery of two dead women - one of them a skeleton - in a North London house. The author teases the reader toward the known, grisly ending by cutting back and forth in time and gradually constructing the complex pattern of emotions and events that define even the most mundane-seeming lives. He plays a similar and equally skillful game with our assessments of the characters. His individual creations are believable, fallible, and ultimately highly engaging individuals.
When I Was Otherwise is a blend of powerful characterization and social satire. It summons the mingled tragedy and humour of old age to powerful effect.