Game of Life

“I love and hate history, because what is dead keeps coming back to life the more you think about it.” 

England, March 2016. On a snowbound Easter Sunday in the fictional market town of Tollgate, all four members of the Porlock family gather for the final time in The Signal House, the Victorian family home that will soon be demolished to make way for a new housing estate. 

The main characters are the father Roger, a retired airline pilot and frustrated adventurer, the mother Elisabeth, a former dancer and spiritualist, the eldest son Michael, a self-help guru on the verge of marital breakdown, and the youngest son Sebastian, a failing primary school teacher and social misfit.

On this Easter Sunday, it’s 11 years to the day since the family’s youngest child Elise went missing in woods near the home aged 15, never to be seen again. After discovering some of Elise’s long-forgotten possessions, Elisabeth orchestrates a ritual of remembrance that will awaken voices from the past (and present) and change the Porlock family forever.

Game of Life is a sensitive, intimate exploration of the light and dark impulses which drive the human condition. Despite focusing on one family in one home on a single day, the novel is sprawling in its theme and influences, taking inspiration from Egyptology, Victorian spiritualism, Greek mythology and children’s literature. 

Vivid, claustrophobic and spiritual, Game of Life is an absorbing psychological mystery about the nature of grief and possession – and a haunting tribute to the enduring power of the female voice.

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