A brilliantly observed story of crises and reconciliations within families and stepfamilies and the conflict between Millennials and their Baby Boomer parents. Funny, dark, yet limned with hope, Tim Lott returns to a family saga – and social commentary – that began with the award-winning White City Blue, continuing with When We Were Rich. It is a story for everyone trying to make sense of a sharply polarised world where the political has become personal and the personal has become a minefield.
Brighton, December 2019: a teenage girl is on an early morning run along the seafront. In her mind she is running away from something she hates, towards something she fears.
China’s home is with her mother Veronica, her pompous stepfather Silas and his dysfunctional son Mason. Her father, Frankie, is in London, but they have little contact, his entrenched views a provocation to her socially conscious ideals, his Brexit-supporting girlfriend a jealous rival.
Exhausted by family tensions, when China leaves Brighton, her godfather Nodge, Frankie’s best friend, and his husband Owen are her first port of call. But they, too, are beset by domestic conflict. Which leaves only her father to takes her in.
They argue, they spar, the fault lines between them grow wider – and then coronavirus strikes.
Praise for When We Were Rich
‘A sharp and very funny portrait of a brash era which is also a surprisingly tender take on flawed masculinity’ ― Sarah Hughes, i paper
‘What a terrific novel – wickedly sharp, wildly entertaining – I was gripped from start to finish. With its twisty plots and interwoven characters it paints a vivid portrait of a crucial decade. It's laugh-out-loud funny, too. And with property porn thrown in, what's not to like’ ― Deborah Moggach
‘Wickedly funny and deeply humane. I loved this book’ ― Sadie Jones
‘Tim Lott revisits the years between millennium fever and the financial crisis, and brings this already long-lost era back to life in a novel every bit as evocative and compelling as we would expect from this prodigiously gifted author’ ― Jonathan Coe
‘Lott delivers many hilarious and sad scenes of life in a long-term relationship. He also explores the poignancy and fragility of male friendships, in a manner reminiscent of Graham Swift’s Last Orders. . . [He is,] crucially, careful to linger over moral difficulty and vulnerability rather than evading it’ ― TLS
‘Lott’s carefully observed period piece captures the mood of an era that now seems like a lost world’ ― Daily Mail