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Alma Braithwaite was a teenager in Exeter when her boarding school was bombed in 1942. Twenty-one years later, she remains alone in the house where she grew up, teaching music at her old school, unable to move on from the tragic events of the war. It takes the arrival of an innovative new headmistress and a new pupil – the daughter of a man Alma hasn’t seen since 1942 – to bring back the painful yet exhilarating summer that followed the air-raids and jolt her out of the past.

Reviews

PRAISE FOR THE ROUNDABOUT MAN: Morrall has always excelled at portraying individuals who are out of kilter with the world and critical of it . . . The fundamental mystery of the artistic imagination is one of the threads that run through Morrall's novel, along with its destructive effects on those in proximity to the artist and the extent to which every life is fictional . . . Best of all is the portrait of the hapless Quinn. Despite his glamorous back story, he has no outstanding qualities yet is quietly fascinating.
Suzi Feay, Literary Review
Morrall's fictional eye is set firmly on the quirks of the individual. It is an approach that has served her brilliantly . . . And Quinn fits the mould wonderfully. Morrall writes with poise and delicacy, and her subjects are delightfully offbeat.
Lucy Atkins, The Sunday Times
Oscillating between World War II and the early Sixties, Morrall sets about evoking the war's enduring impact on those who were left behind on the home front, too young to take part yet irrevocably shaped by it nonetheless . . . an engaging story throughout.
Hephzibah Anderson, Daily Mail
A potent evocation of the war on the Home Front and its emotional impact on the young people who survived it . . . as much a tale about identity and survival as it is about the impact of national trauma on individuals . . . Her dedication to authenticity has paid off. The novel resonates with the age
Danuta Kean, Independent on Sunday