From Graham Swift, Booker Prize-winning author of Last Orders, comes a masterful and compassionate novel of rare emotional power and narrative skill.
On a midsummer’s night, Paula lies awake beside her sleeping husband. She and Mike have been married for twenty-five years, a good marriage; they have two teenage children, Nick and Kate, peacefully sleeping in their own nearby rooms. But Paula’s eyes won’t close: the next morning she and Mike have to tell the children something that will redefine all their lives.
Recalling the years before and after her children were born, Paula begins a story that is both a glowing celebration of love possessed and a moving acknowledgement of the fear of loss, of the fragilities, illusions and secrets on which even our most intimate sense of who we are can rest. As day draws nearer, Paula’s intensely personal thoughts seem to touch on all our tomorrows.
Brilliantly distilling half a century into one suspenseful night, as tender in its tone as it is deep in its resonance, Tomorrow is a magical exploration of coupledom, parenthood and individuality, and a unique meditation on the mysteries of happiness and belonging.
It’s a week past your sixteenth birthday. By a fluke that’s become something of an embarrassment and that some people will say wasn’t a fluke at all, you were born in Gemini. I’m not an especially superstitious woman. I married a scientist. But one little thing I’ll do tomorrow–today, I mean, but for a little while still I can keep up the illusion–is cross my fingers.
Everything’s quiet, the house is still. Mike and I have anticipated this moment, we’ve talked about it and rehearsed it in our heads so many times that recently it’s sometimes seemed like a relief: it’s actually come. On the other hand, it’s monstrous, it’s outrageous–and it’s in our power to postpone it. But ‘after their sixteenth birthday’, we said, and let’s be strict about it. Perhaps you may even appreciate our discipline and tact. Let’s be strict, but let’s not be cruel. Give them a week. Let them have their birthday, their last birthday of that old life.
You’re sleeping the deep sleep of teenagers. I just about remember it. I wonder how you’ll sleep tomorrow.
From the Hardcover edition.