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Our book club pick for October is Cousins by Salley Vickers, a novel that explores the recurrence of tragedy, the nature of transgression, and the limits of morality and love.
How much can love ask of us?
Brilliant and mercurial Will Tye suffers a life changing accident. The terrible event ripples through three generations of the complex and eccentric Tye family, bringing to light old tragedies and dangerous secrets. Each member of the family holds some clue to the chain of events which may have led to the accident and each holds themselves to blame. Most closely affected is Will's cousin Cecelia, whose affinity with Will leaves her most vulnerable to his suffering and whose own life is for ever changed by how she will respond to it.
Told through the eyes of three women close to Will, his sister, his grandmother and his aunt, Cousins is a novel weaving darkness and light which takes us from the outbreak of World War Two to the present day.
"No one can dig down into the shrouded recesses of the human heart quite as forensically as Vickers" - Sunday Times
"Cousins is a wonderful book. Salley Vickers writes with great authority and spins a spellbinding account, with real psychological acuity, of a family in distress, and how a family trauma can reverberate through the generations. I thought about these characters long after I put the book down" - Elizabeth Strout
"She brings a scalpel-sharp but compassionate scrutiny to her characters minds and motivations. Thoughtful, measured but also a celebration of loyalty and sacrifice" - Observer
Salley Vickers is the author of seven highly acclaimed novels, including Miss Garnet’s Angel and The Cleaner of Chartres. She was born in Liverpool and grew up in the Potteries, in Stoke-on-Trent, where her parents were active members of the Communist Party. She has worked as a university teacher of literature and as a psychoanalyst, which developed her interest in the effects of trans-generational trauma. She has family connections with both Cumbria and the North East and currently divides her time between London, Bath, Marlborough and Oxford.
Cousins is published by Penguin and is available online and from all good booksellers. If you do receive a free copy, we'll need you to add your questions and comments for Salley to the thread by the end of October.