Real life and fiction meet as Angelica Garnett vividly evokes what it is to grow up in the shadow of artists. Her family appear in different guises in the stories, but at the centre of each one is Garnett herself. She is naïve and foolish as Bettina, desperately seeking acceptance into the grown-ups circle ('When All the Leaves Were Green, My Love'); shy and cautious, but finally disloyal, as Agnes ('Aurore'); a hesitant, uncomfortable Emily ('The Birthday Party'); and a contemplative, even witty older woman, full of appetite and guilt, as Helen ('Friendship'). Spanning an entire life, each story reveals a figure trying to understand her place not only within the polished circle of her family, but in an ever-changing world.
Sharply observing a colourful social milieu and the vibrant characters that populate it, these are stories about family and friendships, yet also curdled relationships and small betrayals. A fictional counterpoint to her acclaimed memoir, Deceived with Kindness, here is a portrait of a woman seeking an understanding and acceptance of her past.