A Sweet Obscurity

A Sweet Obscurity

by Patrick Gale
A nine-year-old English girl must look after the dysfunctional adults in her life in this novel from the bestselling British author of Notes from an Exhibition

Everyone needs Dido. All the adults in her life—grown-ups who act like children—depend on her for their happiness and stability. The nine-year-old orphan lives with her aunt Eliza, who adopted Dido when her mother died. A depressed musicologist unable to balance her brilliant academic career with motherhood, Eliza ruined her marriage with an illicit affair and is now paying the price. Her estranged husband, Giles, is an opera singer whose girlfriend, Julia, uncovers a shocking secret while concealing one of her own.

As Dido shuttles between Eliza’s squalid flat and Giles’s elegant townhouse, she acts as both tactful diplomat and insightful analyst. Until something happens that powerfully impacts her young life.

Narrated from the alternating viewpoints of Eliza, Giles, Julia, and Pearce, a Cornish cattle farmer who falls in love with Eliza, A Sweet Obscurity plays out like one of the Tudor madrigals at its heart: Each character is a counterpoint to another. And the theme running through their intersecting lives is Dido, who is supposed to save them all. But who will save Dido?

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