Orange-Prize winner Valerie Martin returns with a powerful novel about love, sex and the perils of playing a role too well.
In the seamy theatre world of 1970s New York, where rents are cheap and love is free, aspiring actor Edward Day joins his friends for a summer weekend on the New Jersey Shore. But something happens - and Edward's life will never be the same again. He is saved from drowning by the mysterious Guy Margate, a man with whom he shares both a marked physical resemblance and an implacable attraction to the beautiful, talented, neurotic Madeleine. Ever after, in encounters provoked by envy and resentment, Edward is torn between his desire for Madeleine and his indebtedness to the querulous Guy.
Professional and personal jealousies come to a head when Edward is cast opposite Madeleine in an acclaimed production of Uncle Vanya, their respective roles painfully mirroring the reality of their personal situations. As the sexual tensions of the play spill over outside the theatre walls, Guy - Edward's reluctant saviour and now Madeleine's husband - makes the ultimate act of protest...