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The Spare Room


"Watchful, witty, unillusioned, exultant…There is a note of elegy in all of Harrower’s work, even as the adrenaline flows, and a lyricism reminiscent of F.Scott Fitzgerald at his desperate best."—Times Literary Supplement

"Like a treasure from an unearthed time capsule."—The Wall Street Journal

"I can't recommend this brilliant, austere writer strongly enough . . . Harrower is funny and elegant and devastating."—James Wood, The New Yorker

"Subtle yet wounding, and very much alive."—The Guardian

"Harrower evokes the waste and futility of a decadent class with all the bite and poignancy of F. Scott Fitzgerald."—Eimear McBride, New Statesman

"Harrower can pierce your heart."—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

Zoe Howard is seventeen when her brother, Russell, introduces her to Stephen Quayle. Aloof and harsh, Stephen is unlike anyone she has ever met. His sister, Anna, is shy and thoughtful. Zoe and Russell, Stephen and Anna: they come from different social worlds but the four of them will spend their lives moving in and out of each other's shadow. Set amid the lush gardens and grand stone houses of Sydney Harbour, In Certain Circles is an intense psychological drama about family and love, tyranny and freedom. 

Elizabeth Harrower published only four novels in her short but brilliant career. This fifth novel was completed in 1971, but withdrawn from publication at the last minute. The manuscript languished in the National Library of Australia archives for forty years before Michael Heyward of Text Publishing was allowed to read it. He knew immediately that it must be published. In Certain Circles has been lauded internationally, and its publication coincides with a massive resurgence of interest in Harrower's work.


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