This is the curiously elusive story of Catherine Hammond. From the genteel spa-town of her earliest memories, she glides through 500-odd picaresque pages, until, having come full-circle, she ends up back in Aquae-Regis. In the interim, on a timescale that runs from the 1930s to the 1980s, Catherine encounters Experience. She feels the warmth of her mysterious, short-lived mother’s body, and the growing distance separating her from her rigid, bourgeois father. She visits an unbalanced child psychologist, and the zebras in the local zoo. She suffers the implausible accident of being impaled.
In an unmentionable place on the branch of a tree. Deserted by her first lover, she leaves her baby in Aquae-Regis and gets on with her ‘unsentimental education’. She works in a provincial theatre, a seedy Soho nightclub, a discreet brothel. She becomes a celebrity model, marries (among others) a