#5: ‘Late in the Day’, by Tessa Hadley

I finished reading ‘Late in the Day’ by Tessa Hadley this morning. Her writing is eloquent but accessible, and she paints that picture of quiet domesticity beautifully.

You know that feeling when you wake up on the right side of the bed? Your senses are hyper aware: soft carpet under foot; birds chirping outside, household silence in; the sunlight is bright but soft; your body feels totally at ease with itself. You make a cuppa in your favourite mug and curl up in the silence, relishing that moment. On those days, I feel like that woman in the Galaxy Chocolate advert. Serene, sensual, satisfied.

Hadley’s description of a family home, the lovers’ bedrooms, her artist’s studio, and esteemed gallery all read like that feeling. Even in the midst of chaos and disaster, there is a serenity in her characters lives in that domestic bliss – even if surface level. While I haven’t live long enough to experience lifelong friendships, affairs and divorces or the impact of complex histories on seemingly simple present, I could lose myself in the world.

Studying Literature, I found that there are two types of novels I most enjoy (NB: big simplification and not mutually exclusive). Those with a story or character I can relate to and place myself within, and those where the prose lulls and lures me. Hadley somehow finds a way using her prose to place me within the story.

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