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A powerful novel about a gay man’s struggle to adopt the daughter of his late best friend

Unputdownable’ The Times

‘Arditti writes exactly like Dickens’ Scotland on Sunday

I honestly couldn’t put the book down’ Literary Review

Candida Mulliner and Leo Young have been the closest of friends since university, living together but loving separately. When Candida dies after a long illness, she leaves her five year old daughter, Pagan, in Leo’s care.

Candida’s adoptive parents are horrified; they refuse to accept that a single man is a suitable person to bring up a child and challenge Leo’s guardianship in the courts. The ensuing hearings are complicated by tabloid exposure of Leo’s homosexuality, which threatens not only his position with Pagan but also his job as a television chat-show host.

As Leo fights for his and Pagan’s rights in a society that continues to regard gay men as a threat to children, he finds himself isolated, vilified and, ultimately, arrested. Meanwhile, he endeavours to discover the truth about Candida, the cause of her estrangement from her adoptive parents, the identity of her natural mother and the reason for her refusal to name Pagan’s father.