"I cannot be parted longer from my sons.... I am coming back to my home."
Nine years after her divorce from Cassius Clare, Catherine decides to re-enter his life. Her decision causes a dramatic upheaval in the Clare family and its implications are analysed and redefined, not only in the drawing-room, but in the children's nursery and the servants' quarters. At first, Flavia, Cassius's second wife, feels resentment, fearing that she may be usurped. But as a friendship develops between the two women, it is Cassius who is excluded and whose self-pity intensifies, erupting in a shocking, unexpected way....
Ivy Compton-Burnett (1884-1969) was a contemporary of Virginia Woolf, who wrote in her diary of how her own writing was "much inferior to the bitter truth and intense originality of Miss Compton-Burnett." Ivy Compton Burnett’s own tragic experiences of family life provided some of the material drew on as a novelist. Her books are about money, power, status, incest, adultery, murder, homosexuality, about which she was years ahead of her time, and all the passions and stresses of family life, described with brilliant wit and perception.
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