Extract from Come to the Edge

Cassandra White is not a virtuous widow with her grizzled hair coiled into a bun. She does not wear a series of shapeless outfits in black, and she does not, ever, sit in a rocking chair surveying the scene with her rheumy eyes, saying, ‘Before my dear Harry died . . .’ or ‘In my day . . .’ She does not walk falteringly with a stick and she does not smell faintly of mildew. She does not say ‘Oh dearie me’ when she stumbles. In short, Cassandra White is not the delicate old lady I conjured as I read her advert.

Joanna Kavenna grew up in various parts of Britain, and has also lived in the USA, France, Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic States. Her first book The Ice Museum was about travelling in the North. Her second was a novel called Inglorious, which won the Orange Award for New Writing. It was followed by a novel called The Birth of Love, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her latest novel is a satire called Come to the Edge. Kavenna's writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, the Guardian and Observer, the Times Literary Supplement, the International Herald Tribune, the Spectator and the Telegraph, among other publications. She has held writing fellowships at St Antony's College, Oxford and St John's College, Cambridge.