Late in the Day
By Tessa Hadley
“With each new book by Tessa Hadley, I grow more convinced that she’s one of the greatest stylists alive.”—Ron Charles, Washington Post
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice |A Parnassus First Editions Club Pick | Powell’s Indispensable Book Club Pick | A Washington Post Notable Book | A Slate Best Book of the Year | A Boston Globe Best Book of the Year | A Bookpage Best Book of the Year
The lives of two close-knit couples are irrevocably changed by an untimely death in the latest from Tessa Hadley, the acclaimed novelist and short story master who “recruits admirers with each book” (Hilary Mantel).
Alexandr and Christine and Zachary and Lydia have been friends since they first met in their twenties. Thirty years later, Alex and Christine are spending a leisurely summer’s evening at home when they receive a call from a distraught Lydia: she is at the hospital. Zach is dead.
In the wake of this profound loss, the three friends find themselves unmoored; all agree that Zach, with his generous, grounded spirit, was the irreplaceable one they couldn’t afford to lose. Inconsolable, Lydia moves in with Alex and Christine. But instead of loss bringing them closer, the three of them find over the following months that it warps their relationships, as old entanglements and grievances rise from the past, and love and sorrow give way to anger and bitterness.
Late in the Day explores the complex webs at the center of our most intimate relationships, to expose how, beneath the seemingly dependable arrangements we make for our lives, lie infinite alternate configurations. Ingeniously moving between past and present and through the intricacies of her characters’ thoughts and interactions, Tessa Hadley once again “crystallizes the atmosphere of ordinary life in prose somehow miraculous and natural” (Washington Post).
“Brilliant.... In the hands of a lesser novelist, the intricate tangle of lives at the center of Late in the Day would feel like just such a self-satisfied riddle or, at best, like sly narrative machinations. Because this is Tessa Hadley, it instead feels earned and real and, even in its smallest nuances, important.... It’s to her credit that Hadley manages to be old-fashioned and modernist and brilliantly postmodern all at once.... We’ve seen this before, and we’ve never seen this before, and it’s spectacular.” (Rebecca Makkai, The New York Times Book Review)
“With each new book by Tessa Hadley, I grow more convinced that she’s one of the greatest stylists alive…. To read Hadley’s fiction is to grow self-conscious in the best way: to recognize with astonishment the emotions playing behind our own expressions, to hear articulated our own inchoate anxieties….The whole grief-steeped story should be as fun as a dirge, but instead it feels effervescent—lit not with mockery but with the energy of Hadley’s attention, her sensitivity to the abiding comedy of human desire…. Extraordinary.” (Ron Charles, Washington Post)