A savagely satirical tale of marital revenge.
Madeleine wants revenge; Madeleine wants to be remembered: Madeleine wants love. Who doesn’t? Madeleine is ex-wife and chief persecutor of Jarvis, the architect. Why not? She hates him. Hilary is their daughter, growing fatter and lumpier every day under Madeleine’s triumphant care, and witness to the wrongs her mother suffered.
For Jarvis has a clean new life with a clean new wife, Lily, and a nice new baby, Jonathan. The furniture is polished and there is orange juice for breakfast. Jarvis is content, or thinks he is, fending off Madeleine’s forays as best he can.
Jarvis has a part-time secretary too – Margot, now the doctor’s wife, unremembered from the days of her youth. Margot, unacknowledged wife and mother, accepting, tending, nurturing his children and her own, complaisant in her lot.
Then Madeleine, hurling out her dark reproaches from the other side of violent death, uncovers new familial links in the disruption she creates.