A loving and harrowing account of the havoc alcohol can wreak on a family. Sarah Lyall, New York TimesColette Jones has had problems of her own with alcohol, but now it seems as though her whole family is in danger of turning to booze. Her oldest son, Janus, the family's golden boy, has wasted his talents as a concert pianist. His drinking sprees with his brother-in-law, Bill, a pseudo-Marxist supermarket butcher who sees alcohol as central to the proletarian revolution, have turned violent and landed him in trouble with the police. Meanwhile Colette's recently widowed older brother is desperate to numb his grief. This is a darkly funny novel about a quirky, troubled family as it lurches from farce to tragedy to pub and back again.
The narrative is mind-bogglingly crisp, resourceful and sometimes hilarious in its description of the myriad ways in which people drink. . . . This is both a moral and a literary book. . . . Remarkable. London Sunday Times Far above the ordinary. Woodward's characters are wonderfully complex and rich. London Telegraph