An Irresponsible Age

Lavinia Greenlaw

‘An Irresponsible Age’, Lavinia Greenlaw’s extraordinary new novel, is set in London in 1990, with Thatcher still in power but the country unwilling to ‘abandon an idea just because it proved to be a bad one’. In these hesitant times we follow the life of Juliet Clough and her three siblings, all of them interdependent in a not-quite enviable way, clinging together after the death of a brother and the retreat of their grieving parents. When Juliet, the focus of them all, is drawn into a complex love affair with the enigmatic Jacob, the others, too, find themselves falling in love, and then evading the consequences. None will admit what they are doing, or why.

Reviews of An Irresponsible Age

  • ‘Gifted with a sharp eye for detail and a fine sensibility to verbal nuance and patterning, Greenlaw has already established herself as a significant force in British poetry. This new novel seems certain to confirm her developing reputation as a writer of lively, intelligent and well-crafted fiction.’ Guardian

    ‘There’s more than a whiff of “Cold Comfort Farm” hanging over this elegant novel.’ Daily Mail

    ‘”An Irresponsible Age” develops into an engrossing and thought-provoking read.’ Sunday Telegraph

    ‘Greenlaw’s luminous prose is spare, clinical, sharp enough to dissect characters and scrape away the surface of England in 1990 to reveal a hollow age, yearning to be real before it can be responsible.’ Daily Telegraph

    ‘A subtle and intriguing novel.’ Observer

    ‘Made plausible by the brilliance of the writing…Greenlaw superbly brings to life her characters’ inner life and their perceptions of their world…it gives the novel an irresistible emotional logic and force.’ Financial Times

    ‘Greenlaw is a writer of wonderful elegance and detachment. She treats her reader as an invisible observer, simply flinging you into the midst of the family with the minimum of explanation. Above all, “An Irresponsible Age” is terrifically funny.’ Kate Saunders, New Statesman

    ‘A terrific book, a meteorological force in its own right… “An Irresponsible Age” is every bit as absorbing and beautifully observed.’ Evening Standard