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Our Dancing Days

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Our Dancing Days
Lucy English

Lucy English’s third novel is set in a Suffolk commune in the Seventies where, beneath the blissful summer surface, the young inhabitants are caught in a downward spiral ending in tragedy.When Don, an aristocratic young Notting Hill poet, inherits a stately home in the depths of the Suffolk countryside from an elderly relative, he decides to move there taking with him an artist, Tessa and her best friend, Deedee. A menage a trois develops and as they form a commune and begin to grow their own vegetables, they live together in rural harmony. It is only when they decide to enlarge their group, bringing in strangers encountered at fairs and in pubs – the mesmerising and charismatic Jack, a single mother Helen and her troublesome six-year-old daughter, Beauty – that the balance is upset, tensions emerge and the friction builds to its horrific climax.

COPYRIGHT (#)

Fourth Estate

A division of HarperCollinsPublishers

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/)

Copyright © Lucy English 2000

First published in Great Britain in 2000 by Fourth Estate

‘Each Moment’ by the Incredible String Band. Words by Robin Williamson. Reproduced by kind permission of IMP Ltd. Lyrics from ‘Astral Weeks’ by Van Morrison.

The right of Lucy English to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse-engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

HarperCollinsPublishers has made every reasonable effort to ensure that any picture content and written content in this ebook has been included or removed in accordance with the contractual and technological constraints in operation at the time of publication.

Source ISBN: 9781841152424

Ebook Edition © MARCH 2016 ISBN: 9780007485390

Version: 2016-03-23

EPIGRAPH (#)

This was our dancing day

So even those with nothing to celebrate

Shook off their unfathomable gloom

And were lost with us in that meadow.

From ‘Albion’ in Spirit Level, a book of poems by Andrew Bell

CONTENTS

Cover (#u22886ea0-1FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Title Page (#u22886ea0-2FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Copyright (#)

Epigraph (#)

Chapter One (#)

Chapter Two (#)

Chapter Three (#)

Chapter Four (#)

Chapter Five (#)

Chapter Six (#)

Chapter Seven (#)

Chapter Eight (#)

Chapter Nine (#)

Chapter Ten (#)

Chapter Eleven (#)

Chapter Twelve (#)

Chapter Thirteen (#)

Chapter Fourteen (#)

Chapter Fifteen (#)

Chapter Sixteen (#)

Chapter Seventeen (#)

Chapter Eighteen (#)

Chapter Nineteen (#)

Chapter Twenty (#)

Chapter Twenty-one (#)

Chapter Twenty-two (#)

Keep Reading (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Author (#)

Also by the Author (#)

About the Publisher (#)

CHAPTER ONE (#)

Bristol is built on several hills. In Totterdown there is a street that seems to cling to the steepest edge of one on a high embankment above Temple Meads Station. Tessa’s studio was on the top floor of a house in this terrace. From here it wasn’t difficult to entertain the idea that one was floating above the city like the hot-air balloons do on a fine day, but it also wasn’t difficult to imagine the whole street of houses slipping over the embankment; the gardens already lay at perilous angles. It was with this feeling of landing in front of the 10.45 from platform 6 that caused Tessa to stop working and look out of her studio window.

The ten forty-five gathered speed and whirred past harmlessly, but Tessa still felt she had fallen beneath its wheels. She also knew why she felt like this. She had that morning received a letter from her ex. It had just stopped raining and there was a break in the clouds. Sunlight fell onto the other side of Bristol, emphasising the lumpy forms of the university building, the glass edges of the city office blocks, and, pointing up between, the spires of Christchurch and St Mary Redcliffe; Bristol’s skyline was urban but not unpleasant. She could also see the parklands of Ashton Court and the gardens of Brandon Hill, for it was May and the trees were blossoming and fresh.

Smudgy sunlight on pinkish stone, pastel blue between moving clouds, it’s definitely a watercolour, thought Tessa turning from her window and back to her art, but her canvas was dark and red and large with jagged forms like a gaping dragon or a charred accident.

She poked at her work with a brush dipped in vermilion, but only half-heartedly. ‘It’s not savage enough, it’s blunted and dead.’ Letters from Murray always had this effect on her. Tessa’s walls were laden with other brooding canvases; she sold approximately one of these a year. The rest of her work lay in folders, because Tessa was an illustrator; watercolours of gardens, country scenes, Bristol sites, for calendars, birthday cards and coffee-table books. It was Murray who owned the gallery in Bath where she had first exhibited fourteen years ago and they had been lovers for eight of them.
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