Released on 28 February 2011.

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When the World Was Steady

3.17 based on 91 ratings & 7 reviews on


Emmy Simpson believes she makes her own luck. After an austere wartime childhood in London, she joyfully grasped at her first sign of good fortune and left for Australia. Her sister Virginia doesn’t believe in luck at all. She made no more than a brief foray to the other side of the city. The sisters made their choices, made steady worlds for themselves. But now, middle-aged, they find these worlds disintegrating.

‘In its rich detail and its humour, this is a wry, uplifting book’ Independent on Sunday

‘Messud writes beautiful cadenced prose, and proceeds, sentence by sentence, image by image, character by character, to create a fully realized, multi-layered world . . . [she] has the imagination, the craft and the understanding of human nature to write about anything she chooses’ Chicago Tribune

‘This is a fine first novel, and the “first” is deceptive, for its author has the daring and assurance to take on Iris Murdoch-like questions about goodness and truth’ New Yorker