The basic plot of Ali Smith’s novel is a familiar one. Unannounced and unexpected, a mysterious stranger irrupts from nowhere into a household, to transform its members’ lives. Having performed that task, leaving behind either devastation or renewal, the visitant then vanishes.
Smith’s household consists of four people on a summer holiday in what has been misleadingly advertised as a ‘Tudor Farmhouse next to a picturesque village on the Norfolk Broads’ but is in fact a dilapidated eyesore on the fringes of a near-slum. Eve, having published a successful series of imaginary