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In harbourside Sydney after World War II, Zoe and Russell Howard befriend Stephen and Anna Quayle, brothers and sisters mutually intrigued by their social differences in a changing society. But as the relationships among the foursome deepen and shift, the personal effects of family history cause pain and potential tragedy. Miscommunication and the device of a letter play a part in raising the tension in an elegantly restrained but ruthless psychological study.
In Certain Circles is Elizabeth Harrower’s final novel, which she withdrew from publication in 1971. Published now with the author’s permission, this drama displays the relentless pressure Harrower applies to characters in all her fiction, particularly the quiet power of men to tyrannise women. On one level a finely observed portrait of mid-century life and marriage, written with graceful control, the novel shocks with dark undercurrents that erupt in conflict and despair, with a twist.