I have always enjoyed Tessa Hadley stories. Nothing much happens in them, but her writing is terrific and I am always impressed with how acutely she observes people. She is especially adroit at depicting family relationships. This one is no exception.
A mother (92) and her sixty-something daughter have holed up together during Covid quarantine in the UK. Of course, we immediately sympathize with the daughter who has had the care of her mother thrust upon her. But as the story unwinds, the mother has had an exciting life with three husbands, multiple houses, trips to Europe, etc. And the daughter has lost her husband, her job and is casting about for a purpose, a new beginning if that is possible. She spends much of her time watching the caretaker of the elderly man next door, and actually claims to be her mother's caretaker rather than her daughter. These characters are drawn so well, you feel they must live next door to you.
Sometimes I wonder why I enjoy stories like this so much. Am I looking to find myself in the characters I read about instead of escaping into a story about something else entirely. What about you?