Claire Lowdon

Innocence Lost

Bad Dreams and Other Stories

By

Jonathan Cape 215pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

In the title story of Tessa Hadley’s third collection, a nightmare prompts a nine-year-old’s revelation. The child loves Swallows and Amazons, but in her dream the book includes a chilling summary of how the lives of Roger, John, Titty and Susan play out. ‘Roger drowned at sea in his twenties … John suffered with a bad heart.’ Disturbed, the girl wanders downstairs into the empty, moonlit sitting room and contemplates her new awareness of time:

She was aware of their lives running backwards from this moment, into a past that she could never enter. This moment, too, the one fitted around her now as inevitably and closely as a skin, would one day become the past: its details then would seem remarkable and poignant, and she would never be able to return inside them. 

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

    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,