Old Friends by Felicity Everett [8/10]

A tightly plotted domestic drama with wonderful characterization, “Old Friends” is my favorite read from Felicity Everett’s four novels, each a model of atmospheric storytelling underpinned by aspects of modern life. Architect Harriet and PR firm owner Mark live with their two teenage sons in a verdant London suburb. Their “besties,” ex-rock-star Gary and put-upon Yvette, together with two daughters, live nearby, one notch down the social scale. When Gary pushes his family up north to Manchester, Harriet seizes a chance for both families to live communally in a single house. But all the characters are floundering in their lives, and gradually cracks emerge in marriages and friendships, cracks that expand with creepy certainty toward tragedy. The author is a consummate novelist, bringing all the characters vibrantly into the reader’s brain, while propelling a busy, dark plotline toward the climax. Old Friends is a sparkling, modern tale; for me, a two-sitting read. I fancy for many a single sitting will be compulsory.

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