Matthew Alexander

Stage of Life

Real

By

Faber & Faber 410pp £10.99 order from our bookshop

Stephanie Merritt’s second novel charts a single adulterous relationship from its initial excitement and romance, through complications and confrontations with reality, to its messy end in abandonment, guilt and recrimination. It is done with exceptional wit and emotional sophistication.

Sally, the novel’s central character, is a struggling playwright who lives alone in a flat above a café in Hoxton. She is a fast-living kind of girl, who drinks and smokes too much, goes to a lot of parties given by and for her more successful contemporaries in the theatrical world, and lives a near-consequenceless existence of quips and hangovers.

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