This is a series of tales about two families in suburban Dublin between the wars - the Derdons and the Bagots - and the lonely marriages, disappointments and yearnings which lie at the heart of each family.
Hubert and Rose Derdon's son has become a priest, leaving Rose to wallow in a delirium of loss. Their marriage, which began in glorious courtship and constant laughter, has now given up all power of expression, but their petty debates over socks and pieces of cake speak volumes. For the Bagots, Delia and Martin, their daughters and a menage of adopted stray animals, family life delivers some moments of happiness - a new piece of furniture, a visit from a bishop and a sweet reminder of Delia's childhood on a Wexford farm. Not even the bitterness of Martin's twin sister, Min, who condemned her brother's marriage, can spoil their affections, however fleeting.
Beautifully understated, intimate and rich in telling detail, every story peels back another layer until the poignancy and emotional truth of these lives is overwhelming.