It is 1970 in the suburbs of north London and, from the untidy comfort of her crowded house, Colette Jones is watching her older brother go to pieces, drinking himself into oblivion on home-made wine. Colette knows the solace a drink can provide, being partial to an evening at the Red Lion herself. But soon she finds she cannot afford to ignore the destructive effect that alcohol is having on her family, and with gritted teeth Colette is forced to exile the alcoholic son she loves so much from the house. But this act takes its toll and, just as she can't resist a drink, so she can't resist allowing Janus back into her life - with heartbreaking consequences for everyone.
Gerard Woodward's magnificent second novel continues the story of the Joneses, so memorably introduced in August. By way of an odyssey through the pubs, parks and shopping parades of suburban London, it lurches from farce to tragedy as the members of one unforgettable family build and destroy their lives.