Everything Will Be All Right by Tessa Hadley
A Novel

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The profoundly different choices of a mother and her daughter infuse this rich, expansive novel with both intimate detail and wide resonance

When Joyce Stevenson is thirteen, her family moves to the south of England to live with their aunt Vera. Joyce's mother, Lil, is a widow; Vera has a husband who keeps his suits in the wardrobe but spends evenings at another house nearby. While the two sisters couldn't be more different-Vera, a teacher, has unquestioning belief in the powers of education and reason; Lil puts her faith in séances-they work together to form a tight-knit family.

Joyce sees that there is something missing in their lives: men. She doesn't want to end up like her aunt Vera, rejected by her husband. Joyce discovers art at school: she falls in love with the Impressionists and, eventually, with one of her teachers. In spite of the temptations of the sixties, she is determined to make her marriage and motherhood a success. When Joyce's daughter, Zoe, grows up and has a baby of her own, however, she proves to be impatient with domestic life and chooses a dramatically different path.

Spanning five decades of extraordinary changes in women's lives, Everything Will Be All Right explores the complicated relationships of a family. The young ones of each generation are sure that they can correct the mistakes of their parents; the truth, of course, is more opaque. Intricate and insightful, Everything Will Be All Right firmly establishes Tessa Hadley among the great contemporary observers of the human mind and heart.


About Tessa Hadley

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Tessa Hadley is the author of four highly praised novels: Accidents in the Home, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award; Everything Will Be All Right; The Master Bedroom; and The London Train; and a previous collection of stories, Sunstroke, a New York Times Notable Book of the year. Her stories appear regularly in the New Yorker. She lives in Cardiff and teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University.
Published November 1, 2004 by Henry Holt and Co.. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Everything Will Be All Right

The Guardian

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One seduction, in Seventies Cambridge, is no less touching for its cool calculation as 'he touched her for the first time: transferring the nearly smoked joint to his left hand very deliberately, slipping his right hand under her thin wool jumper and running it lightly around her waist until he f...

Jan 18 2004 | Read Full Review of Everything Will Be All Right:...

The Guardian

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Everything Will Be All Right By Tessa Hadley 422pp, Cape, £15.99 A book in which very little happens could be something of a snore.

Jan 17 2004 | Read Full Review of Everything Will Be All Right:...


If that sounds suspiciously like “women’s fiction” — that shudder-worthy label slapped on any novel with more than two uteri — one should be comforted to know that there is very little tearful bonding or coveting of accessories.

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