The Long View

Elizabeth Jane Howard

25 February 2016
480 pages


With an introduction by Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall.

Originally published in 1956, The Long View is Elizabeth Jane Howard's uncannily authentic portrait of one marriage and one woman. Written with exhilarating wit, it is a gut-wrenching account of the birth and death of a relationship.

In 1950s London, Antonia Fleming faces the prospect of a life lived alone. Her children are now adults; her husband Conrad, a domineering and emotionally complex man, is now a stranger.

As Antonia looks towards her future, the novel steadily moves backwards in time. Tracing Antonia's relationship with Conrad, she comes to its beginning in the 1920s – through years of mistake and motherhood, dreams and war.

One of his secret pleasures was the loading of social dice against himself. He did not seem for one moment to consider the efforts made by kind or sensitive people to even things up: or if such notions ever occurred to him, he would have observed them with detached amusement, and reloaded more dice.

Observant and heartbreaking, The Long View is as extraordinary as it is timeless.

Beautifully written and richly perceptive
When I read The Long View . . . I realized I would never write anything of such subtlety and penetration: there was no point in even hoping to write a novel if this was the standard of excellence
What a beautiful, subtle, endlessly insightful writer. What compassion, what mesmerising detail, what godlike lightness of touch