The Goldschmidts are an ordinary family pursuing a quaint, middle-class existence in the West Midlands. They live on a suburban road where the houses are small and gardenless but are goldmines in terms of transport links to London and rising prices. They read The Guardian and listen to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. Adam, the novel’s first-person protagonist and a stay-at-home dad (the ‘modern’ man), juggles cooking and laundry with writing a book on the history of Coventry Cathedral, while Emma, the breadwinner of the family, works long hours as a doctor. Their teenage daughters, Miriam and Rose, are emotionally observant and fiercely opinionated, taking hold of their independence as they move through adolescence.