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In this highly acclaimed novel by the author of The Emperor’s Children, life isn’t all Emmy and Virginia Simpson might have hoped. When Emmy’s marriage to an Australian man ends, she flees her home in Sydney for the tropical paradise of Bali to “find herself”—only to become embroiled with an eclectic crew of international misfits and smugglers. Her sister Virginia, meanwhile, has never wandered far outside of London. Prim and pious, Virginia is struggling to find meaning in her life and her aging mother thinks a visit to the Isle of Skye is just what she needs. On these two islands halfway around the world, the middle-aged sisters confront their lives and their destinies with unexpected consequences.
“[Messud is] a novelist of unnerving talent.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“A fine first novel, and the ‘first’ is deceptive, for its author has the daring and assurance to take on Iris Murdoch-like questions about goodness and truth.”
—The New Yorker
“In its rich detail and its humor, this is a wry, uplifting book.”
—The Independent on Sunday (London)
“Beautiful. . . . [Messud] proceeds, sentence by sentence, image by image, character by character, to create a fully realized, multi-layered world. . . . [She] has the imagination, the craft and the understanding of human nature to write about anything she chooses.”
—The Chicago Tribune