In an idyllic village in south-west France, a web of lives interconnect, ready to unravel at the first touch. Alex is running from a teenage love-affair that went badly wrong at home in England. Julien, the retired village schoolmaster, is struggling with loneliness and insomnia. Pete has everything – a wife who loves him, an existence of ease and freedom – yet he’s frightened of something. Magali wants so much more than the life her parents had. And Damien’s angry with all of it.
And then through their world passes a walker, or a pilgrim, on the old Santiago de Compostela pilgrim path. He accidentally moves a rock a couple of metres and continues on his way. And by the time he has travelled a few more slow days towards Santiago, the lives of every inhabitant of this small community will be irrevocably changed.
‘The stories in the novel intersect and reflect on one another. Nothing is fixed, these are lives still being lived by people in a sensuously present locality which, like dreamers, they go beyond.’ —David Constantine
‘I was compelled: impressed by the mixture of gravity and vivacity that informs every aspect of the novel. I recognised the world it portrays and yet I learned from it too. And all spun from a capacious, fine prose that sounds the depths and resonances of its sentences with admirable clarity.’ —Rachel Cusk
‘This is a morality tale, in its most satisfying guise: a commentary on the disposition of our times, its temptations and its punishments, and at the same time a book of human character, of people's needs and losses, expectations and disappointments, of their weaknesses and their fragile unexamined strengths. I recognised the world it portrays and yet I learned from it too. And all spun from a capacious, fine prose that sounds the depths and resonances of its sentences with admirable clarity.’ —Rachel Cusk
‘What a treat: at last someone has solved the problem of how to experiment, con brio, with time and form in the novel and yet keep it readable, accessible and full of heart.
(of: Little Thing)’ —Jo Shapcott
‘Susan Wicks’s prose works find haunting new shapes for the practical and emotional dilemmas specific to modern women’s lives.’ —Stephen Burt
‘She is neither naïve nor inexperienced, and yet her writing has a bloom on it. There’s a fine surprise at the act of writing itself, and what it can accomplish.’ —Helen Dunmore