Appreciating her fragmentary, evanescent prose style and contrasting observations on life and death demands more concentration than anticipated. Her characterisation is slight, understated and coy. On page 29, she momentarily turns her parents’ early lives into a fairy tale, as if she’s composing an allegorical history for her children. All too often, people disappear from the narrative prematurely, without explanation. Full names are conspicuous by their absence.