Book summary: Accidents in the Home

2002 BY TESSA HADLEY

Clare Verey, a twenty-nine-year-old mother of three, bakes her own bread and grinds her own spices. She has a comfortable home in the suburbs and a devoted husband. Why is it, then, that when her best friend's lover appears in her life he has the power to invert her world? Why is the desire for more never satisfied?

So begins Accidents in the Home, a novel that exposes the emotional underbelly of a modern-day family. Clare's narrative is deftly intertwined with the stories of her extended family: her mother, Marian, the clever daughter of a Dostoevsky scholar whose husband leaves her for a beautiful young art student; Clare's half brother, Toby, a dreamy boy who prefers to view life through the lens of a camera; her troubled younger half sister, Tamsin, who develops an apparatus of taboos and rituals to restore order to her chaotic past.

In the world Tessa Hadley has created, family is no longer a steady foundation but a complex web of marriages, divorces, half siblings, and stepchildren that expands with every new connection and betrayal.Accidents in the Home offers a startling, intimate portrait of family life in our time.

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