An acid-sharp novella of longing and language, in which the past comes up hard against the present, from Jonathan Gibbs, acclaimed author of Randall, or The Painted Grape (Galley Beggar, 2014):
‘It was not the only painting in the room, but it was the one that drew the eye. It was a Golden Age interior, the like of which you might see a dozen times in the Rijksmuseum, Jenny guessed, and once or twice in any gallery in Europe or America with a half-decent collection. Simple, domestic: a woman and a man in a room, the striking yellow and black tiled floor spread in expanding diamonds towards the viewer. There were paintings on the walls of the room in the painting, and a mirror on the left wall, tilted, that reflected the tiles, in a masterful flourish of perspective…’
When Jenny Thursley, a 40-year old linguistics lecturer, returns to Europe for a conference in Amsterdam, she finds herself pitched back into the presence of a life she had fled: a once-inspirational mentor now dying, a former lover again within reach, the flickerings of new desire. Over little more than twenty-four hours Jenny must write a keynote conferene speech, face up to her own mortality, and to the consequences of the bad choices she has made – while finding the nerve to make new choices that might be no better. Witty, sexy and provocative, The Large Door is a meditation on life and living, and on ages – golden and otherwise – that recalls the sparkling mid-century work of writers such as Muriel Spark and Brigid Brophy.