The hardest thing, finally, is to accept our insignificance in the scheme of things – or perhaps to accept that there is no ‘scheme of things’.
Tom Harper, a 43-year-old Australian psychologist, is in self-imposed exile in London, living down a sexual indiscretion with a client. Through a chance meeting at the Royal Academy, he makes friends with Sarah Delacour, an academic who studies nursery rhymes. Sarah is beautiful, charming and smart, but she is morally trapped – and perhaps corrupted – by decisions she has made in the past.
As Tom and Sarah’s relationship evolves, many layers of infidelity emerge. Tom falls deeply in love and waits for Sarah to reciprocate. But while Sarah is brilliant at playing the role of a woman in love, Tom fears her ultimate commitment may be to securing a life of luxury.
Through his fiction and non-fiction, Hugh Mackay has developed a reputation as an acute and compassionate observer of the human condition, with all its shades of light and dark. In this beautifully written tale of love and the desire for control, he explores one of life’s most troubling questions: do our circumstances justify or merely explain our behaviour?