Foley and Moss are partners in a successful small business, making plaster pixies for the tourist trade. Foley is the artistic member of the partnership; he thinks up the ideas and designs and has pretensions to even greater artistry in his cherub lamps and fixtures. Moss, the seemingly quiet one who supplied the capital for the venture, manufactures them. Barry Unsworth sets his scene magnificently -- a Cornish village, Lanruan, thriving on specious tourism, and its local characters: Graham, the primitive painter; Bailey, the loud-mouthed Northerner who comes to Lanruan to make his fortune; Barbara, the nearest thing the village possesses to a bad girl; and above all Gwendoline, who, inadvertently, begins the rift in the partnership between Foley and Moss.
The Partnership is a disquieting, darkly funny tale about hidden desires and the unspoken attachments we have for one another.