Lorna, thirty-nine, is married to misanthropic Ralph, who in turn is wedded to his twenty-seven pipes and his artificial-grass business. In fact, it’s a ménage à trios, the third party being Lorna’s Monster, a gleefully sadistic personification of her panic attacks.
The Monster has a field day when, after a botched foot operation, Lorna is sent to convalesce among the deaf and demented inmates of a nursing home from hell, where to staff have more problems than the patients. But, despite her surroundings, she begins to blossom, making new friends, discovering untapped talents and even a reawakened interest in sex, thanks to the attentions of an ardent young care-worker. She even gets offered a challenging new job. Meanwhile Ralph is being sued by a vindictive business client and fears he will lose his house and his livelihood.
In another of her wickedly black comedies Wendy Perriam chronicles an unconventional marriage, showing the bond that can develop between two people who have experienced a ‘lost childhood’. She also takes a swipe at the medical profession and, by graphically illustrating the plight of residents in low-grade care homes, offers a devastating critique of the way society treats the old and infirm. Yet, throughout, the novel is leavened by the author’s exuberant wit.
‘One of the finest and funniest writers to emerge in England since Kingsley Amis. She is gifted with devastating powers of observation . . .’ Herald Tribune