No of pages: 256
Other Editions: Hardback
The Bradshaw Variations
Since leaving his job to look after Alexa, his eight-year-old daughter, Thomas Bradshaw has found the structure of his daily piano practice and the study of musical form bring a nourishment to these difficult middle years. His pursuit of a more artistic way of life shocks and irritates his parents and his in-laws. Why has he swapped roles with Tonie Swann, his intense, intellectual wife who has accepted a demanding full-time university job? How can this be good for Alexa and for the family as a whole?
Tonie tunes herself out of domestic life, into the harder, headier world of work where long-since forgotten memories of herself are awakened. She soon finds herself outside their tight family circle and alive to previously unimaginable possibilities.
Over the course of a year full of crisis and revelation, we follow the fortunes of Thomas, Tonie, his brothers and their families: Howard, the older, more successful brother and his gregarious wife, Claudia; and Leo, lacking confidence, propped up by Susie, his sharp-tongued, heavy-drinking wife. At the head of the family, the ageing Bradshaw parents continue their marital dynamic of bickering and petty undermining.
The Bradshaw Variations is a powerful novel about how our choices and our loves and the family life we build will always be an echo - a variation - of a theme played out in our own childhood. The novel, Cusk’s seventh, shows a prize-winning writer at the height of her powers.
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