The Good Listener

Pamela Hansford Johnson

02 February 2012
264 pages


Toby is a very plausible young scoundrel: good at winning confidences — and also at staving off troublesome emotions. On the point of leaving Cambridge, he meets Maisie, who is beautiful, tense and vulnerable.

She falls in love. He does not. He takes what he can, as young men do. But Maisie tries to force the issue, and he makes off — warned by a friend’s disastrous shotgun marriage. There will always be other girls, more cheerful and just as willing . . .

And Toby never worries about minor problems like the way separation wounds its victim. The bitter surprises still in store disconcert him only briefly.

After all, a good listener will always get by.

‘With her characteristic mixture of sense and sensibility, Pamela Hansford Johnson creates a whole gallery of convincing characters, entangled in a web of drifting relationships.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Beautifully rendered . . . memorable settings and lively characters’ Financial Times

‘The light shining steadily through each page of Pamela Hansford Johnson’s new novel is the light of quality’ The Times

‘A stunning performance’ Nina Bawden, Daily Telegraph