Author: Diana Evans
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
Staff Pick! Cat says…
I read Ordinary People by Diana Evans when it came out in 2019 and it has been one of those books that has stayed with me, with its images coming into my head from time to time. With this in mind I knew I had to read A House for Alice, a loose sequel to Ordinary People.
It has some of the same characters as OP, in particular Melissa and Michael, who are now divorced and in new relationships. We also meet new characters like Melissa’s father Cornelius who dies in a house fire on the same night as the Grenfell Tower Fire, and Alice, her mother who decides after his death to leave London and spend her last years in her home country of Nigeria.
Evans is an absolute master of free indirect discourse, and the book is populated with characters whose minds we move in and out of seamlessly. The broad scope of characters is matched by how much of London she covers as the book moves around the city with the characters. From Kilburn to Peckham, it feels like we’re in the safe hands of a Londoner, or of course several Londoners.