Adam is a stay-at-home dad who is also working on a history of the bombing and rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral. He is a good man and he is happy. But one day, he receives a call from his daughter's school to inform him that, for no apparent reason, fifteen-year-old Miriam has collapsed and stopped breathing. In that moment, he is plunged into a world of waiting, agonising, not knowing. The story of his life and the lives of his family are rewritten and re-told around this shocking central event, around a body that has inexplicably failed. In this exceptionally courageous and unflinching novel of contemporary life Sarah Moss goes where most of us wouldn't dare to look, and the result is riveting - unbearably sad, but also miraculously funny and ultimately hopeful. The Tidal Zone explores parental love, overwhelming fear, illness and recovery. It is about clever teenagers and the challenges of marriage. It is about the NHS, academia, sex and gender in the twenty-first century, the work-life juggle, and the politics of packing lunches and loading dishwashers. It confirms Sarah Moss as a unique voice in modern fiction and a writer of luminous intelligence.
Stay-at-home dad Adam and his wife Emma, a doctor, have two daughters and a cosy, conventional, uneventful life. That is until the day his fifteen-year-old collapses at school, revealing to him the fragility of the world. From the opening chapter, with its beautiful description of the beginning of life, we are in the company of a superb storyteller. To read this novel is to rediscover the joy of words placed carefully and elegantly on the page for our enjoyment. Perfection.
Recommended by Margot Coughlan, Dubray Stillorgan