Sarah Moss’s new novel is yet another work of lyrical realism. For a framing device, an italicised and whimsical prologue set in the future. For a story, newlyweds Tom and Ally, separated for six months in the 1880s when hubby goes to Japan. Chapters alternate. Worlds are juxtaposed. Narration is in the present tense – for immediacy or ease? It would seem that things will end badly, but the prologue told us otherwise. At the very last moment this promise is fulfilled. We return to italics for an epilogue.