This is the story of three people: Julia Blackburn, her father Thomas and her mother Rosalie. Thomas was a poet and an alcoholic, who for many years was addicted to barbiturates; Rosalie, a painter, was sociable and flirtatious. After her parents were divorced, Julia's mother took in lodgers, always men, on the understanding that each should become her lover. When one of the lodgers started an affair with Julia, Rosalie was devastated; when he later committed suicide the relationship between mother and daughter was shattered irrevocably.
Or so it seemed until the spring of 1999, when Rosalie, diagnosed with leukaemia, came to live with Julia for the last month of her life.
"This memoir has a warmth and love it's hard to imagine could have been possible...a work of art in itself: a careful weaving in and out of personal memories and present pain to create something remarkable" Herald
"In this memoir she describes her eccentric, dangerous, wonderful bohemian parents...Blackburn emerged from this turmoil as a fine writer"
Margaret Drabble, New Statesman