The breakthrough commercial novel from one of the greatest comic writers in the language.
Wesley, spurting with kinetic energy, nasty wit and kindness to animals, ought to be a star. Or so it seems to those who nip at his heels, turn up everywhere he goes, lie in wait for him around every corner. They are his followers - he calls them the Behindlings. And they themselves make quite an ensemble, gathering together their own scabby intentions, irritating habits and weird manners to bury all difference in the common pursuit of their prize, their Wesley.
Then there are those who simply stay put. While Wesley and his Followers are forever on the move, someone like Catherine Turpin lies defiantly in the bed she makes for herself, while, outside, her failings are broadcast to all, painted on walls even - though the curious and the weak still return to her door, to her hydrangea and her stink.
And when one of Wesley's newest followers, Jo Bean, turns out to be more interested in confronting Catherine than winning the race of the Behindlings, a few January days on Canvey Island see much of what has been ravelled up for altogether too long come very undone.
A cold snap produces an uncommon amount of heat, light, orphans, messing about in boats and just the one unforgettable heron.