Oakham, near Bruton, is a tiny village by a big river without a bridge. When a man is swept away by the river an explanation has to be found. The story is relayed by the village priest, John Reve, who in his role as confessor is privy to a lot of information that others have not. But will he be able to explain what happened to the victim? And what will happen if he can't?
In the middle of the night, a woman wraps herself in a blanket and starts writing. In answer to a question you asked a long time ago, she writes, and so begins a letter that both women have preferred to forget. She writes night after night - a letter of friendship, by turns a belated outlet of rage and forgiveness, the letter dissects what is left of a friendship caught between the forces of hatred and love.
A fiercely intelligent and moving second novel from the author of the acclaimed The Wilderness Leonard Deppling returns to the capital from Scotland, where he has spent the past year nursing his dying father. Missing from the funeral was his younger brother William, a former lecturer and activist who lives with his wife and two young sons. Leonard is alone and rootless, he moves in with William hoping to unite their family and renew their friendship. But it seems William has already set his own fate in motion, news comes of a young student who has followed one of his arguments to a shocking conclusion. William embraces the danger - a decision that threatens to consume his entire family.
It's Jake's birthday. He is sitting in a small plane, being flown over the landscape that has been the backdrop to his life - his childhood, his marriage, his work, his passions. Now he is in his early sixties, and he isn't quite the man he used to be. He has lost his wife, his son is in prison, and he is about to lose his past, for Jake has Alzheimer's. As the disease takes hold of him, Jake struggles to hold on to his personal story, to his memories and identity, but they are becoming increasingly elusive and unreliable. What happened to his daughter? Is she alive, or long dead? And why exactly is his son in prison? What went so wrong in his life? There was a cherry tree once, and a yellow dress, but what exactly do they mean? As Jake, assisted by 'poor Eleanor', a childhood friend with whom for some unfathomable reason he seems to be sleeping, fights the inevitable dying of the light, the key events of his life keep changing as he tries to grasp them, and what until recently seemed solid fact is melting into surreal dreams or nightmarish imaginings. Is there anything he'll be able to salvage from the wreckage? Beauty, perhaps? The memory of love? Or nothing at all? From the first sentence to the last, 'The Wilderness' holds us in its grip. This is writing of extraordinary power and beauty.