This gripping novel explores the effects of violence on the journalists and artists who have dedicated themselves to representing it.
In the aftermath of September 11, reeling from the effects of reporting from New York City, two British journalists, a writer, Stephen Sharkey, and a photographer, Ben Frobisher, part ways. Stephen returns to England shattered; he divorces his duplicitous wife and quits his job. Ben follows the war on terror to Afghanistan and is killed.
Stephen retreats to a cottage in the country to write a book about violence, and what he sees as the reporting journalist’s or photographer’s complicity in it. Ben’s widow, Kate, a sculptor, lives nearby, and as she and Stephen learn about each other their world speedily shrinks, in pleasing but also disturbing ways. The sinister events that begin to take place in this small town, so far from the theaters of war Stephen has retreated from, will force him to act instinctively, violently, and to face his most painful revelations about himself.