I actually started with The Outcast by Sadie Jones. C lent it to me one Friday night. I put the boys to bed and started reading at 9.30pm. I rang her at 10.30pm to discuss. I read until it was finished- 2.30am Saturday. I rang her 10am to discuss again! Family and society fail a traumatised child in post-War middle-class England. Harrowing, challenging, obviously influenced by Camus's Outsider but all her own tapestry of pain. With lovely hope as the weft!
Then I got into the car and drove to France. On passenger stints I devoured Family Album by Penelope Lively. C had been totally disturbed to find herself, she thought, a character in Outcast; well I was destroyed by the mother in Album! It's one of a very few books since university that I annotated as I went along!
"This is all she ever wanted: children and a house in which to stow them- a capacious, expansive house... And Denby ovenware and a Moulinex and a fish-kettle and a set of Sabatier knives. She has all of these things and knows that she is lucky. Oh, so lucky." And so obtuse, and so so wonderfully, brilliantly terrifying!