Today I’m delighted to welcome Kay Langdale to Five on Friday. I only encountered Kay’s work recently when I read the brilliant The Comfort of Others (see review here), so I’m as keen as anyone else to find out a little more.
I’m married and live in Oxfordshire and also have a home in Devon by the water which I love. I have four adult children who were born in the space of five years, which was huge fun if crazy-busy.
I love reading, exercising and learning Italian. I’ve written seven novels and I like writing about modern families, and about people with secrets.
My latest novel, The Way Back to Us, is about a family with a child with a life-limiting illness, and explores how a marriage can be polarised by chosen roles, and how mothering can become a state of siege. I’m told it’s a heart-breaker…
Now let’s dig a bit deeper:
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
This is the hardest question…
There’d be something by The Specials to summon up my teenage years in Coventry.
There’d be some Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and some Dexy’s Midnight Runners for when I moved to London to university, and some Puccini and Dvorak because it was when I first listened to opera.
There’d be some Ladysmith Black Mambazo to chime with when I first met my South African husband and started going regularly to Kwa Zulu Natal, and there’d be Joni Mitchell singing Forever Young which I played at all my children’s christenings.
There’d be the whole Tom Wait’s album ‘Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night’, and some Bach, and… and…
Five’s impossible …☺
Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
My vast collection of books
A good walk
The perfect nude lipstick
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Grow your fringe out
Run like the wind while you actually still can
Learn to tie a scarf in multiple ways – it’s the gift that keeps on giving…
Yoga, yoga, yoga…
Most of what you worry about doesn’t actually happen
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I can make an excellent White Lady cocktail.
I can revive an unconscious guinea fowl keet (my Twitter peeps know this).
I’m obsessed with skin care – gotta love a new serum.
I fold my jumpers in colour graduated stacks as if I work at Benetton.
I’m totally rubbish at wrapping presents. I’m a big fan of the team gift, partly because someone else then wraps it beautifully.
What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?
Read the version of Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse edited by David Bradshaw again (and again).
Listen – really listen – to the dawn chorus, sitting outside on the lawn wrapped in a huge blanket as the sun rises.
Travel around Italy.
Buy myself some 800 thread count pristine bed linen, so I could eventually be fabulously bed-bound.
Write a note to everyone I’ve loved and cared about to thank them for enriching my life.
Thanks so much for taking part Kay and I’m definitely with you on the moisturiser and skincare obsession – that’s me too!
The Way Back to Us is Kay’s latest book
Since their youngest son, Teddy, was diagnosed with a life-defining illness, Anna has been fighting: against the friends who don’t know how to help; against the team assigned to Teddy’s care who constantly watch over Anna’s parenting; and against the impulse to put Teddy above all else – including his older brother, the watchful, sensitive Isaac.
And now Anna can’t seem to stop fighting against her husband, the one person who should be able to understand, but who somehow manages to carry on when Anna feels like she is suffocating under the weight of all the things that Teddy will never be able to do.
As Anna helplessly pushes Tom away, he can’t help but feel the absence of the simple familiarity that should come so easily, and must face the question: is it worse to stay in an unhappy marriage, or leave?
The Comfort of Others (2016); Away From You (2015); Choose Me (2013); Her Giant Octopus Moment (2012); What the Heart Knows (Published by Rowohlt, 2009); Redemption (published by Transita, 2006 and by St Martin’s Press as If Not Love, 2008).