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Late in the Day

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  3,939 ratings  ·  580 reviews
Alexandr and Christine and Zachary and Lydia have been friends since they first met in their twenties. Thirty years later, Alex and Christine are spending a leisurely summer’s evening at home when they receive a call from a distraught Lydia: she is at the hospital. Zach is dead.

In the wake of this profound loss, the three friends find themselves unmoored; all agree that Za
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Harper
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Kathryn I also noted grammar mistakes... whoever instead do whomever, which instead of that. The lack of quotation marks isn’t ignoring basic grammar. It’s ve…moreI also noted grammar mistakes... whoever instead do whomever, which instead of that. The lack of quotation marks isn’t ignoring basic grammar. It’s very European; just take a look at French lit. But that isn’t my biggest criticism of the book!(less)

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Ron Charles
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With each new book by Tessa Hadley, I grow more convinced that she’s one of the greatest stylists alive. The British author of seven novels and several story collections, Hadley regularly inspires such praise, but her success was hardly a foregone conclusion. Her first novel, “Accidents in the Home,” didn’t appear until she was 46, practically geriatric compared with those wunderkinds who secure contracts at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and graduate into a field of laurels.

There are compensations,
Larry H
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
The two couples were the closest of friends—Alex and Christine, and Zach and Lydia. Before all four met each other, Lydia and Christine were friends from school, as were Alex and Zach. When they all were living in England, their families spent a great deal of time together, and even their daughters grew up together. While they each shared some similarities, each was very different from one another.

One night, Alex and Christine plan for a quiet evening, when the idyll is broken by a phone call. L
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Beautifully written!

Two couples have been the best of friends since their twenties. For over thirty years, it’s been Zach and Lydia and Alex and Christine through it all.

One night Christine and Alex receive a call from Lydia. Zach has unexpectedly passed away.

Interestingly, all the friends agree that Zach was the best of the group. They put him on a posthumous pedestal and grief swallows their days.

Lydia is having such a difficult time, Alex and Christine have her move in with them. But this
Elyse  Walters
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Remember the movie, “Bob & Carol & Ted and Alice”, the hit talk-about film in 1969?
Let me refresh your memory:
Two pseudo-liberal-thinking couples- friends for 30 years - had intimate - truth telling- conversations together.
The movie is a comedy ....covering up tragedy below the surface. With the possibly of wife swamping - the 4 of them jump in bed together.

Only 3 adults jumped into bed together in Tessa Hadley’s novel. After all, what are good friends for - (also a 30 year friendship) - if no
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: uk, 2019-read
Tessa Hadley writes about the changing relationship dynamics between two couples from their mid-twenties into their middle age, and while she offers some fascinating observations about semi-conscious feelings of guilt, suspicion and resentment and also some gripping passages about grief, this book is overall lacking in force and urgency. The characters remain pale and sometimes even clichéd, and the explanations the author offers for her narrative decisions manage to make the whole experience ev ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tessa Hadley is a master of her craft with writing that is consistently beautiful while seemingly effortless, displaying remarkable perception and uncanny insight when exploring human connection and the inner thoughts and feeling of her characters, never shying away from the faults and flaws found in an actual life. She is an author that never rings false to me, always exhibiting an honesty and, I suppose, an innate wisdom in her writing. Her new novel, which explores the way in which tragedy an ...more
Julie Ehlers
This was my first Tessa Hadley, and it turns out I had totally the wrong idea about her. For some reason I thought she was dark and edgy and sardonic, but if Late in the Day is any indication, she's none of those things. This was a fairly standard domestic drama, but done quite well—maybe like a more dense and vivid Anne Tyler. Once it got going I was absorbed the whole time, but I can't say I was wowed, and I also thought the younger characters were pretty unconvincing. This is maybe a 3.5 for ...more
Bonnie Brody
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Tessa Hadley's writing is like a specific taste - think cilantro, marzipan, or liver. You either like it immediately or it doesn't mesh with your tastes. I found myself trying very hard to get into the flow of the narrative but it was like an undertow. No matter how hard I tried to stay afoot, I kept going down.

The novel begins with the death of Zachary, a charismatic man, cultured, strong and assured in every way, a gallery owner and part of the London art scene. Of all the people in his circl
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tessa Hadley masters the everyday in Late in the Day: everyday people living everyday lives in everyday situations. While not my life or the lives of people I know, Hadley’s characters and their lives are easily imaginable as real. Late in the Day does not transcend the everyday so much as help us to understand it.

Late in the Day revolves around two long-married and intertwined couples who have known each other since their twenties: Christine and Alexandr, and Lydia and Zachary. The relationshi
Peter Boyle
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
This patient, carefully considered story explores the fortunes of two couples in present-day London. Christine, an artist, and her husband Alex, a poet turned teacher, are listening to classical music in their apartment one evening when the phone rings. Lydia, their old friend, tells them that her husband Zachary has died of a heart attack while working in his art gallery. The quartet had been friends for many years and Zachary's untimely passing has a huge effect on the other three. Lydia moves ...more
I was absolutely blown away by Tessa Hadley’s writing style in Late in the Day. Intrigued from the very first page with the slow burn of tension, the intuitive understanding of marital relationships,the deep loyalties and limitations of friendships, as well as the beauty and depth of her prose; it was pure pleasure to sink into these pages. As well as beauty, her story reveals the profound sadness we all feel at loss; the absolute grief when the beloved is absent, silent at the last. With the k ...more
L A i N E Y
You know how sometimes you would meet some people who were friends and after knowing this fact and even spending time with them you just can’t help wondering “Have I miss something? Why are they friends, again”? Yes. That was exactly how the main characters’ group feel like to me. Especially between Christine and Lydia whose friendship was so fraught and strange I found it absolutely bizarre they couldn’t see through it themselves. Well mostly that Christine couldn’t, a sophisticated and articul ...more
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tessa Hadley is undoubtedly a master of her craft. The writing, in Late in the Day, is consistently measured, observant, beautiful and stark. In part, this is what made this a challenging read for me. Late in the Day is very much a novel of the everyday. Although hinged on significant moments, or turning points, much of the substance of this novel is ordinary lived experience. In that sense, this is a slow read, but ultimately I found myself propelled by the power of Hadley's skill with the writ ...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
I struggled a bit with this book as the characters all felt very flat to me. That, along with the sleepy, detached tone, took away from what was otherwise some lovely writing about the complex relationship between two married couples. Unfortunately, this book felt more like a story of ideas than a story about people.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it

“Children threaded tactfully through the adults’ solemnity; patches of sunshine bloomed and withdrew on the floor tiles like tentative reassurances.”

Totally absorbing and extremely likeable - the only real issue is the kids being so much less vivid than their elders. (I’m fact Grace and Isobel sound like two middle-aged women glibly impersonating ‘the kids’.)
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it

I had some fairly strong adverse reactions to this book early on. The characters are not people I would enjoy hanging out with, the social milieu seemed very arty, monied and privileged. I was determined I would sneer and eye-roll my way to the end. However, gradually the book crept up on me, I stopped trying to like or understand these people, I decided to take my pleasure almost entirely from Hadley's wonderful word-smithery.

There were many passages that captured for me some essential ge
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Hadley gets top marks for the artistry of her writing. There are many, many lovely sentences and well-structured passages. (I did find her excessive use of one particular punctuation mark distracting; let's just say she favors a High Colonic style.). Her skill is also evident in the way she explores the messy paradoxes and irrevocable missteps that complicate amorous relationships. For those reasons this was an interesting read. Unfortunately I did not care for (or, worse yet, about) any of the ...more

I was absolutely mesmerized by this novel, even though one might argue that nothing much happens in it. I think a lot of it is due to the stunning writing - Tessa Hadley manages to use very few words to invoke a very vivid picture. These words are simple and arrange themselves beautifully together, as if that was how they were supposed to be, in these exact formations. The writing is almost transparent for the absence of adjectives, often crowding other writers' prose. Don't get me wrong,
Kasa Cotugno
The more you know about an author, the better you can understand and appreciate their work. Late in the Day, the title, could apply to Hadley as well as to her characters, and knowing a bit of her history, of her coming to novelizations later than most, goes well to inform the reader of why she is so insightful in her creation of characters mature in outlook and experience. The two couples that form the nucleus of this book are prime examples. Although they met while young and developed close al ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I'm not saying that the past was good, she went on, – or fair, or better, or anything. But nothing will ever be more beautiful than this, will it? It's surpassingly beautiful.

In the opening pages of Late in the Day, we are introduced to Christine and Alex in their London flat as they listen to classical music after dinner, a novel held but unread, a darkening sky contemplated out the window; the perfect vignette of privilege and repose (although even here, there are a few hints of cracks in
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5, rounded up.

This is only my second Hadley, the first being her previous novel The Past, which I somewhat grudgingly liked. This one I found more problematic - the material (adultery!) a bit more shopworn and done to death, the characters less sympathetic and a bit artificial. Hadley would seem incapable of writing prose that isn't eminently readable, but I just was never terribly enthralled by anything here. The structure, in which chapters set in the present are interspersed with those from
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.75 Stars Rounded to 4
“You’re going to be happy with Zachary. Imagine how easy your life is going to be. He’ll adore you and look after you, and you’ll have so much money that everything will be made easy, and you won’t ever have to work unless you want to. You’ll be able to buy all the beautiful clothes you want, and live in a beautiful house.”

“You could not have everything: the whole wisdom of life amounted to that. Whatever you had was instead of something else.”

In her most recent novel, Hadley explores marria
Feb 15, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

A horribly boring story about horrible, unlikable people. I also hated the affected and awkward writing style. Don't waste your time.
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indiebuddyreads

“You could not have everything: the whole wisdom of life amounted to that. Whatever you had, was instead of something else.”
Anita Pomerantz
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Hadley is a writer I will definitely be trying again. Her writing is very thought provoking while still being straightforward. This story takes a very realistic look at the lives of two couples, Christine and Alex, Lydia and Zachary, who have known one another since their college years. When one member of the foursome dies, their dynamic shifts, but frankly in ways that are foreshadowed by the years before.

Hadley is very impressive in terms of how she moves the reader from the past to the prese
I love Tessa Hadley's quiet observations of where life can take people. I noticed on a recent rereading of my reviews of the other books I've read by her (Clever Girl, The London Train and The Past) I've said in each that she is brilliant at writing about how "life is curly, not lived in a straight line". True here as well, and I can add, for this one, how life often plays out in ways that divert from what people expect. In Late in the Day the focus is on two married couples, Alex and Christine ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
It opens with a death right in the middle of (possibly) Schubert. We are about to meet all the London characters, and the dead man, Zachary, going back and forth in time to include a quartet of married friends and their three adult children (two are younger adults) and then the shock and grief when he leaves them behind. The death, unlike the music, is certain.

Zachary’s death was sudden and unexpected, his wife, Lydia, broken in pieces. These are friendships that go back thirty-plus years. Hadle
Katie Long
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This took a far more melancholy tone than I was expecting. I was picturing a group of friends late in life, wistfully looking back on their years of friendship. Instead though, these friends are middle aged and instead of wistful nostalgia, there is much more doubt and regret.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: gave-up-on
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Tessa Hadley is the author of Sunstroke and Other Stories, and the novels The Past, Late in the Day and Clever Girl. She lives in Cardiff, Wales, and teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University.

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