This is one of those novels that is hard to describe without the word “poignant,” as McGregor describes in ﬁne detail the happenings on one block in a British city on one day that something tragic occurs with the block’s residents as witnesses. The build-up to this one event is a selective peering into of the neighbors’ secret troubles, fears, desires. His ability to bring depth to such a large cast is impressive.
One of those witnesses is a young girl who was in the process of packing that day to move house and, interspersed into the narration of that single day, is her ﬁrst-person account of later ﬁnding out she is pregnant from a one-night stand and her struggle to ﬁnd the support she needs. Though she is dealing with greater troubles, she has a hard time putting that day behind her.
The story seems to heading towards a predictable end, but then it turns out the real tragedy is something nobody witnessed.