Lover by Anna Raverat review – a broken marriage, skilfully dissected

Anna Raverat’s story of a husband’s infidelity is full of elegant prose and emotional insight

Kate and Adam have been married for 10 years and have two young daughters. When Kate discovers an email flirtation between Adam and an unknown woman, she’s forced to question the stability of her marriage, and is confronted both by her husband’s lies and her own self-deceptions.

What sets Lover apart from other marital breakdown novels is Raverat’s elegant prose and emotional insight. With grace and humour, she immerses the reader in Kate’s psychological disorientation – insomnia, reliance on self-help books, and juggling her children, job and sanity. There are questions here not only of fidelity but of identity, fulfilment and self-awareness: “People don’t always know the contents of their own hearts; we are such secrets, even from ourselves.” As an anatomy of a broken marriage, Lover is a skilfully observed, evocative and affecting novel.

Lover is published by Picador (£12.99). Click here to buy it for £10.39


Hannah Beckerman

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The Far Field review – a daughter’s quest in Kashmir skilfully drawn
Madhuri Vijay’s debut novel balances the personal and the political with assurance

Nikesh Shukla

30, Jun, 2019 @12:00 PM

Article image
Did You Ever Have a Family review – grief and gossip, skilfully woven
Multiple narratives explore the aftermath of a devastating accident in Bill Clegg’s Booker-longlisted debut novel

Hannah Beckerman

18, Sep, 2016 @12:00 PM

Article image
Expectation by Anna Hope review – intelligent and humane
Disappointed lives add up to high reader satisfaction in this perceptive novel

Hannah Beckerman

21, Jul, 2019 @12:00 PM

Article image
Chrysalis by Anna Metcalfe review – the desire to inspire
A damaged woman turns herself into a wellness influencer in a savvy debut novel relayed from three perspectives

Lucy Popescu

14, May, 2023 @12:00 PM

Article image
My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley review – broken familial bonds
A mother and daughter’s tense relationship makes for a devastating, quietly brutal novel

Alex Preston

04, Apr, 2021 @4:30 AM

Article image
Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo review – in the company of men
The Three Women author once again explores female desire and sexual power dynamics in a collection of stories that often feel shockingly true

Stephanie Merritt

19, Jun, 2022 @8:00 AM

Article image
Broken River by J Robert Lennon review – wickedly plotted slowburner
A psychological thriller about a middle-class family’s ill-starred house move, from a writer at the top of his game

Anthony Cummins

25, Jun, 2017 @6:00 AM

Article image
The White Rock by Anna Hope review – back to the very beginning
A sacred Mexican rock unites four people over 200 years in Hope’s thoughtful, ambitious fourth novel

Hephzibah Anderson

28, Aug, 2022 @2:00 PM

Article image
The Marriage of Opposites review – Pissarro’s mother as intoxicating heroine
Alice Hoffman gives us a fine fictionalised account of the struggles of Rachel, the impressionist’s mother, on the Caribbean island of St Thomas in the 1800s

Hannah Beckerman

28, Aug, 2016 @10:00 AM

Article image
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell review – the doomed duchess
The Hamnet author has found her sweet spot in stories of 16th-century women – but this promising narrative isn’t as gripping as it should be

Johanna Thomas-Corr

28, Aug, 2022 @8:00 AM