The Half-known Life

The Half-known Life

2.4 (5 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
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Sappho lives a life that is enviable in its small luxuries. Married to successful self-made businessman Tom, with a large house in north-west London, a sweet-natured four-year-old daughter and another baby on the way, she has few worries - beyond missing the sunshine of her native Greece, and having to hold her own with the competitive mothers in the playground and their pampered pocket princesses. One drizzly day she encounters Laleh shivering on a park bench - a beautiful young Iranian woman whose wary reticence and halting English are clues that she is an asylum seeker. Something unspoken in Sappho responds to this proud, cautious person, and it is with an air of inevitability that she takes Laleh and her baby son into her home, a sense that she is making amends for something she has buried in her past - eccentric though this domestic arrangement seems to others. It is during a family outing - one of the first after the new baby is born - that it happens. A chance glimpse of a face that is as familiar to Sappho as her own sends her reeling, and unearths scorchingly potent memories of her girlhood in Athens, memories she has never been able to share with anyone and which now threaten everything. Unable, suddenly, to care for her family, instead she leaves Tom and the children in Laleh's care and paces the streets restlessly, trying to find again the person she had once fled from in agony. Moving, perceptive and completely compelling, The Half-Known Life is about the mixed blessing that families can represent. Spanning three generations, from Athens in the 1970s to London in the present day, it tells of how, no matter how dramatically our lives may change, certain bonds stay with us for more

Product details

  • Hardback | 416 pages
  • 135 x 216mm
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0747590915
  • 9780747590910

About Simonetta Wenkert

Simonetta Wenkert was born in London and has lived in Athens, Rome and Jerusalem. She has worked as a teacher and a translator of film scripts. She currently lives in Queen's Park, London, where she owns and runs Ida, an Italian restaurant, with her husband. This is Simonetta's second more

Review quote

Praise for The Sunlit Stage: 'With remarkable skill she has unfolded for us a slice of very recent history, and brought it alive in rich and vivid detail.' Esther Freud 'Immediately gripping and very exciting.' Patricia Duncker 'I really enjoyed it: it captures all the passion, fear and terror of Italy in the dangerous 1970s.' Santa Montefiore 'An unusually accomplished first novel it's hard to suppose that a better first novel will appear this year' Allan Massieshow more

Rating details

5 ratings
2.4 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 20% (1)
3 20% (1)
2 40% (2)
1 20% (1)
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