The Small Hours

by Susie Boyt

Harriet is a 38-year-old, 6ft 1in redhead who leaves her therapist of many years to embark on a new venture, using an inheritance to create her own idyllic nursery school. She battles the infruriating, uncaring, rich parents of her charges, and inspires and enthuses her fellow teachers as they run sophisticated tea parties and teach classical piano for the youngsters. But Harriet also has to contend with her own flawed relationship with her mother and brother.

This is a fascinating, quirky, at times almost surreal, account of a woman's doomed pursuit of her dream. It is both comic and dark, amusing and melancholy, and beautifully concentrated in his description and plotting. I finished it wanting to turn back to the first page and read it all over again.

Review date: November 2012
The Small Hours by Susie Boyt