Lesley Downer

A Single Woman

Territory of Light

By

Penguin Classics 122pp £9.99 order from our bookshop

As Territory of Light opens, the unnamed narrator is newly separated from her husband, Fujino, and looking for an apartment. But she can’t break the habit of deferring to Fujino, who drags her around to more and more expensive places. She feels utterly defeated: ‘If I could live with my husband I didn’t care where, and without him everywhere was equally daunting.’

Then, at the library where she works, she overhears a poem: ‘Quick now, give up this idle pondering! And let’s be off.’ She realises with a shock that it’s time to take control of her life. On her own she finds the perfect apartment, tiny but suffused with light. She moves in, bringing her two-year-old daughter with her, and life as a single mother begins.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,