Haunted by childhood loss, 23-year-old Louise takes on her late mother’s name and sets out to find Nicholas, the man she has always held responsible for her death. Now a middle-aged lecturer, husband and father, Nicholas has nevertheless been unable to shake off the events of his past, when he and Louise’s mother, Lydia, had a clandestine, destructive and ultimately tragic affair. As Louise infiltrates his life and the lives of his family, she forms close and intimate relationships with both his son and his wife, but her true identity remains unknown to Nicholas himself. Tensions grow and outward appearances begin to crack, as Louise and Nicholas both discover painful truths about their own lives, each other, and the woman they both loved.
Told alternately from the perspectives of Louise and Nicholas, and moving between the past and the present, The Art of Losing is a stunning debut novel that shows how love, desire and loss can send out more complicated echoes across our lives than we can ever imagine.
Reviews of The Art of Losing
‘An exceptional talent for storytelling’ Mavis Cheek
‘The Art of Losing is a taut, convincing exploration of the pressures of love and the price of infidelity, and like the passion it so vividly describes it grips from the first and refuses to let go. For sheer readability, Rebecca Connell’s debut novel takes some beating.’ Rupert Thomson
‘A first novelist who stakes out a compact patch and cultivates it with style hints at greater promise than one who aims higher, but goes messily astray. Connell switches between aggrieved Louise’s voice and that of the seducer, Nicholas. This counterpoint adds perspective and sharpens a finely-crafted mood of curdled sensuality and gathering menace. The truth, of course, is not quite what it seems.’ Boyd Tonkin, Independent
‘Connell gets under the skin with this part thriller, part heartfelt examination of betrayal and grief’ Catherine Taylor, Guardian
‘This assured psychodrama by a young South London writer is brimming with entertaining thrills … In a book as menacaing as any crime novel, Rebecca Connell spins a complex tale of domestic betrayal.’ Emma Hagestadt, Independent