Abandoned by her London boyfriend, Ronnie Kahn, Beatie Bryant became determined to improve herself, and to find her own voice. To that end she returned to education, got the qualifications to go to university, and has emerged a different, stronger person; more confident, more at ease with herself. For the first time she feels like a fully-rounded human being. And yet the world refuses to treat her so. Her encounters with the outside are confusing and contradictory. The flattering old man in Shepherd's Market, the needlessly savage interview, the quirky bookbinder, hidden in her little shop, only make her question herself - who she is and what she wants - once again. Even a love affair and the extraordinary career she stumbles upon only serve to parallel this fear of fragmentation; while other, more terrible trials await her.
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