Lottie announces at the breakfast table that she is getting married. The youngest daughter of a large and close-knit family, Lottie is nineteen but looks five years younger. Her fiancé is Edgar Lennox, a composer of religious music and lecturer at Lottie's university, forty-five years her senior. We follow as Lottie's life unfolds; her marriage to Edgar, the tiny flat they share, the children that follow. It is a story of romantic dreams and daily reality, family loyalties tested but holding, and the comedy and solace to be found in small moments. Evoking a world that expands beyond the pages, it marks the beginning of what is an astonishing new collection.
On full display in these stories are the qualities Tessa Hadley has been praised for often before: her unflinching examination of family relationships; her humour, warmth and psychological acuity; her powerful and precise prose. In this collection there are domestic dramas, generational sagas, wrenching love affairs and epiphanies - captured and distilled to remarkable effect.
Married Love is a collection to treasure, a masterful new work from one of the most accomplished storytellers of today.
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Occasionally – very occasionally – a book feels like a gift, something unexpected, exhilarating, life-enhancing. Tessa Hadley’s second collection of short stories is such a book. - The Times
Treats such as these should be taken one at a time – savoured and ruminated over as separate morsels... Tessa Hadley writes like a dream, the prose precise, but funny, too; her psychology always seems spot on and she draws us completely into the many different worlds we encounter here. - Daily Mail
Hadley is a kind of serious literary version of the cartoonist Posy Simmonds – no middle class foible goes unobserved, and every emotion is traced back to its source. - Out There Books
The most perceptive chronicler since George Eliot of avid, unworldly young women. - Guardian
Don’t be deceived by the having-it-all flourish of the title. Though most of these stories deal with a boho existence...what interests Tessa Hadley is the places where seams rip, exposing unlikely stuffing. - New Statesman
This collection shows a writer quietly growing in style, perception and greace. She conveys to the reader that rare ability to see completely into someone else's head. - The Spectator
Tessa Hadley returns to the fray with a gem-filled story collection that could serve as a masterclass in the art of short-form fiction writing. - Sunday Business Post
The ghost of Katherine Mansfield hovers lightly over these deceptively delicate snapshots which zero in on the much maligned territory of the domestic and make it new and vital again. - Metro
A story by Tessa Hadley is always a treat... Every last corner of these stories feels vital and luminous, with Hadley’s quick, darting intelligence everywhere in evidence. Their conclusions are at once satisfying and like a deep yet elusive note, hanging like a question in the air. - The Lady
The short story isn't roomy like the novel... The tender, tragicomic stories in Tessa Hadley's Married Love...show that this author knows how such constraints can beget creative opportunities. - Literary Review
Married Love is an accomplished, confident collection. - Sunday Times
Some of the best stories in the book revolve around large family gatherings, where the author leads us masterfully through the emotional spectrum from thwarted toddlers to demanding matriarchs. It's at these boozy lunches and suburban soirées that Hadley takes a long hard look at where old loves might die and new futures begin. This party is well worth attending. - Independent
Hadley is a writer of exceptional intelligence and skill...hers is a subtly subversive talent… Only Alice Munro and Colm Toibin, among all the working short story writers I’m aware of, are so adept at portraying whole lives in a few thousand words. - Observer
[O]ne of the most subtle and sublime contemporary writers. - Vogue
Time and again, Hadley's prose unearths little treasures in the everyday... And she's as sharp as Alan Hollinghurst or Edward St Aubyn on the cruel comedy of English manners, which makes the unswerving compassion of these stories only more exceptional. - Literary Review
Quietly mischievous collection… Under the middle-class surfaces that Hadley captures so perfectly, a curiously primitive tribalism is at work… Hadley is a writer who is…slowly revealing a torrent of emotional wisdom beneath her cool, wry prose. - Financial Times
Hadley’s understatedly beautiful collection is filled with exquisitely calibrated gradations and expressions of class. - New York Times
Shows this wonderfully perceptive writer at the top of her game. - Evening Standard
These are quiet stories that challenge easy understandings of interpersonal dynamics and show the full complexity of human emotions. With humour and a lot of wit, Hadley elevates local, emotional relationships so that they completely eclipse any need for plot. - Irish Times
Domestic relationships are the stuff of these delightfully understated, tightly sprung stories. - Woman & Home
Tessa Hadley is the author of four highly praised novels, Accidents in the Home, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Everything Will Be All Right, The Master Bedroom and The London Train, and one previous collection of stories, Sunstroke. She lives in Cardiff and teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University. Her stories appear regularly in the New Yorker, Granta and other magazines.