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Mark Illis

Tender, Mark Illis


Publication Date: 17-Apr-09 | ISBN: 9781844715268 | Trim Size: 216 x 140 mm | Extent: 160pp | Format: Paperback

UK & International Distribution: Macmillan Distribution | Publishing Status: ActiveShop online at HiveFind your local bookshop




Tender is the story of the Dax family. Or the stories of the Dax family. When Ali and Bill meet it’s 1974, she’s a physiotherapist with a broken heart, he’s a cycle courier who dreams of writing a Hollywood film. In the next story it’s their first wedding anniversary, in the next Ali’s pregnant, and so we go on, revisiting the family on key occasions over thirty years, watching relationships develop, children grow up, big moments occur, as life unfolds in its normal, and sometimes far from normal, way. The point of view shifts from story to story, so that we see things first through Ali’s eyes, then Bill’s, and later through the eyes of their children, Sean and Rosa. And then there’s Ali’s brother, Frank, popping up now and then with his own unique way of viewing the world. And what happens? At various times, Ali has murder on her mind, Bill fears his life is turning into sit-com, Rosa is bullied, Sean plots escape and Frank … no one really knows what’s going on in Frank’s head. Just an ordinary family, then, trying to cope with life, and each other. A family with a history that develops in front of your eyes. A family with stories to tell.


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1974: The Last Person To Swim The Channel, Ever; 1977: Deep Water; 1984: A Man In Space; 1989: Being Nice; 1995: There’s A Hole In Everything; 1999: The Pretty Horse; 1999: The Realm of the Possible; 2000: Hiatus; 2000: Gladness; 2001: Houdini; 2001: War and Fish; 2002: On The Heart, and Other Muscles; 2004: The Death of a Friend of a Friend; Acknowledgements


“Mark Illis is a great stylist: eloquent, graceful, quiet. His work has wonderful subtlety and surprising strength.” —Anne Enright


“Tender can mean loving. But in this coolly observed, meticulously crafted family drama, one is reminded that it also means damaged, and acutely vulnerable to further hurt.
” —Independent


“Illis has an engaging style and his prose is vivid and inventively colloquial” —TLS



“On A Chinese Summer: Haunting and perceptive.” —Books


“On A Chinese Summer: Excellent first novel.” —Literary Review


“On A Chinese Summer: Rich in passion and promise.” —New York Times Book Review


“On The Alchemist: Freely enjoyable, smart, wry-humoured, even poetic.” —London Review of Books


“On The Alchemist: Moving and entertaining.” —Times Educational Supplement



Mark IllisMark Illis had three novels published by Bloomsbury before he was 30. He’s now one of Salt’s best-selling authors. He’s been writing for TV for 15 years and has had several radio plays broadcast.His stories have been published in many magazines and anthologies. Born in London, he now lives in West Yorkshire with his wife and two children.

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