Deborah Moggach’s new novel comes with a letter to the reader explaining the different inspirations for the plot. One is the way in which Hoodia gordonii, a plant used as an appetite suppressant by Kalahari Bushmen, came to be registered by a pharmaceutical corporation and marketed as a diet remedy; another is the flourishing of mobile-phone charging booths in Ghana, where a booth owner might conceivably read other people’s texts. A third concerns Chinese people using American surrogates in the hope of acquiring a ‘human passport’: a child born on US soil. Lastly, closer to home, are the travails of a lonely sixty-something who hopes she isn’t too old to find love.
That’s quite a challenging set of sources, but over the next 300 pages Moggach