Like Schopenhauer’s porcupines, we rush together because we are chilly and rush apart because we are prickly. It is 20 years since Wanda’s husband threw himself off the top floor landing of their house in Primrose Hill. Hers is a story of abandonment. In 1939, she lost her mother at the railway station as the family fought its way onto the last train out of Warsaw. She has spent her life determined never to let go of anything again. Her husband’s presence has been resurrected in a shrine out on the landing, with his shoes left in the same spot where he took them off that night. The family reunions that mark the anniversary of his death have turned into a battlefield, on which those still imprisoned in her claustrophobic grip try vainly to escape. But this, the 20th reunion, is destined to be different. Wanda is about to find out why her husband left her so dramatically, the shocking secret that her sister, Mitzi, has held onto all these years, and the unwitting role played in the tragedy by Wanda’s elder son, the brilliant, wayward Schopenhauer scholar, Gregor Silver.
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