Friends and Relations
Elizabeth Bowen’s deceptively simple novel opens with the weddings of two quietly conventional sisters: Laurel to Edward, and Janet to Rodney. Ten years later, one intense week is all it takes to unravel the couples’ peaceful lives as a long-concealed secret explodes to the surface. The repercussions ripple through four different families connected by the two marriages, hinging on the comic interventions of such vivid characters as Edward’s mother, the glamorous and scandal-ridden Lady Elfrida; Rodney’s notorious rake of an uncle; and a stridently awkward teenager, Theodora, who is keen to insert herself into the drama. Humor and pain abound in Friends and Relations, as Bowen weaves the barest hints of menace and the subtlest nuances of emotion into this devastating tale of the tangled web of human relationships.