Ordinary People by Diana Evans

Ordinary People follows the lives of two couples as they struggle with the difficulties of ordinary, family life.

Melissa and Michael have a new baby and a new house in London. They seem like the perfect couple, but Melissa’s shift to freelance work begins to make her feel trapped in her own home, jealous of the greater freedom her partner, Michael, enjoys.

Damian and Stephanie live in the suburbs, near Stephanie’s parents, with their three children and Damian commutes to London for work. This separation of work and home has built a wedge between Damian and Stephanie that grows when Damian’s father dies, forcing him to reconsider what he is doing with his life.

Damian and Michael are friends from university and this brings the families together, allowing for their experiences of family life to be shared, contrasted and contested. Continue reading

White by Marie Darrieussecq

Edmeé and Pete have never met. They come from separate parts of the globe, but White follows their individual journeys to Antarctica and each other.

Why do you sign up for a job in such freezing conditions if you are not a scientist or adventurer seeking some new discovery? What is it that Edmeé and Pete want from the ice and snow, from the endless whiteness that splits champagne bottles in half and requires constant vigilance against for survival? Continue reading

Poster Boy by N. J. Crosskey

Set in a fascist Britain, in the not too distant future, two women, Rosa and Teresa, fight to stay alive with some sense of integrity as the nation takes further steps towards totalitarian leadership where all citizens are monitored and given access to education, food and health care on a scale dependant upon their heritage, opinion and behaviour. Continue reading

Supper Club by Lara Williams

I devoured this book (pun intended). The idea of women wanting to gorge themselves and take up more space physically as a precursor to taking it up mentally and socially, is delightfully and annoyingly radical. That pressure for the feminine to be neat, contained, and, if possible, small, quiet and submissive is deliciously subverted by a rowdy supper club where women gorge themselves silly on food, drink and drugs, taking up space with their loud voices, dancing and messy eating. The physical expansion of flesh that ensues is less embarrassing because all the individuals in the group put on weight collectively and celebrate the extra flesh rather than hiding it behind modest outfits and downcast eyes. Continue reading