In a remote corner of Japan an Englishwoman is drowned by a freak tidal wave. Bill, a young university lecturer, and his wife Mary are asked by the Consul to identify the body.
On their arrival in the seaside village they are met – and befriended – by Bibi Akulov, the immensely rich White Russian in whose house the dead woman was staying.
For the English couple it is the start of a complex and unnerving relationship with Bibi and her mysterious brother Sasha – a relationship which reveals the darker side of the Akulov household, and involves Mary in an increasingly brutal exploration of her own secret nature.
‘Mr King seems unable to write badly’ Observer
‘Few English novelists have written with more insight and assurance of life in Japan . . . The Waves Behind the Boat is one of this best books.’ David Rees, Spectator
‘The narration shimmers with sensual awareness . . . as though Maugham had collaborated with Colette.’ Irish Times