A self-styled ‘Bigger Picture’ man, James has his head in the clouds, and the ‘fairy-tale’ celebrity obituaries he writes for a tabloid are currently all the rage. Conversely very practical and matter-of-fact, June is a respected and uncompromising author of violent and sexually explicit Radical Feminist fiction. In their late thirties, with a precocious teenage son, they are a talented, thoroughly contemporary London couple.
In spite of conflicting perspectives and a deep-rooted loathing of each other’s work, for seventeen years they’ve managed to live with their differences happily, but recently their arguments are coming to a head. Even as her latest collection of lurid short stories fast becomes an unlikely bestseller, if June isn’t crabby she’s glum, and she’s never in the mood to have sex any more. When James begins to suspect that she’s having an affair, his whole world is threatened with mid-life collapse.
Over three successive Augusts, and distracted by scandals and colourful deaths, he drifts in unlikely directions while he tries to decide whether June can be trusted or his marriage has finally fallen apart.
"Cacoyannis writes in a breezy yet erudite way, with eloquent language and insight sharing space with truly funny running jokes. James' life is at once complicated and complete, imperfect and scary, but somehow just as it should be. The depiction of James and June's marriage is particularly impressive; the author writes with such passion about insecurities, lust, violence, and love that the characters' faults and flaws only make them more vivid. The Linthwaites are intellectual but not always politically correct, and they love Pedro Almodóvar films and good wine with venison steaks. They live in a London that's suitably fast-paced and cutting-edge, and Cacoyannis has a firm yet humorous grasp of the vernacular and culture of personal and professional worlds ranging from Fleet Street to Soho and beyond. James has a kind of fame that's fairly risky: one daring obituary that goes too far could make the industry and the public turn their backs on him. Indeed, all of the characters take risks, and it's to the author's credit that this madcap, smart story has an introspective protagonist whose dedication to his rebellious family is so well-imagined.
A sophisticated, comic novel that brilliantly captures the triumph and folly of art, media, and publishing." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)