Afterwards

Rachel Seiffert

To love someone, need you know everything about them?

When Alice and Joseph meet, they fall quickly into a tentative but serious relationship. She is a nurse, he a painter and decorator; both are still young and hopeful of each other, but each brings with them an emotional burden. Alice’s father has been a yawning absence all her life, and her beloved grandmother – who helped raise her – has recently died.

For his part, Joseph refuses to speak about his army experiences in Northern Ireland and Alice suspects that his general reticence hides an even more deeply troubled past. When her widowed grandfather begins to tell Joseph about his own RAF experiences in l950s Kenya – stories he had shared only with his wife – something still raw is tapped in Joseph; his reaction to the older man’s unburdening of guilt is both unexpected and devastating for them all.

Morally complex, understated, and powerfully moving, Afterwards confirms Rachel Seiffert’s remarkable talent.

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Shortlist announced - 21 Apr

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