Lavinia Greenlaw's mesmerising debut novel about growing up in the surreal banality of mid-1970s Essex. There's something about Mary George! '"And what happens if your face fits but you don't?" Tom enquired. "When you belong to it, the place holds you so tight, you might not notice how it squeezes."' Tom Hepple had to come back to Allnorthover. And there she was again, that girl who walked on water, out onto the new lake above his childhood home. The memory gushes painfully back for Tom, and its undertow carries the girl, Mary George, off. Mary is a strange and lovely creature, a young woman who seems to be more important to many of those in the village than she is to herself. Her importance comes to leak slowly into her life as the layers of history and memory, of secrets and misapprehensions, peel away. Lavinia Greenlaw puts before us the monochrome, immemorial middle England of the 1970s in all its dowdy glory, and has us see through young Mary's eyes how a seemingly static landscape is suddenly illuminated by the most vivid bursts of energy, colour and drama. Punk's torch flares into life and singes the fringes of England. Mary George bears witness and burns brighter still: she is more memorable than even the extraordinary events around her, and the reader will find it devastatingly hard to leave her company at the end of this exceptional debut.