Anna Hope’s beautifully observed study of female friendship is a moving account of the collision between aspiration and reality.
Writing about the liminal space between dreams and reality – and how failure affects relationships – Hope’s book is an ode to 21st century London and an examination of the pressures of modern society. Billed as a Sally Rooney for women in their 30s, Hope is not quite as literary in her writing, but she has a similar way of delivering sharp, devastating insights in an almost nonchalant style. Dialogue is thoughtful and realistic throughout, with plenty of humour. The crucial similarity, for this reviewer at least, is in terms of character. Within a few short pages of Expectation, we come to feel as if we know the protagonists intimately and we root for them throughout the book, even as we watch them commit selfish, self-destructive acts.
Through each [character], Hope explores what it means to be female in the 21st century and the various causes of our thwarted expectations... In much the same way that memory and self-analysis do not follow linear trajectories, the reader must piece together the fragments of these women’s lives, to understand how their choices, their personalities, their gender and the society they inhabit have contributed to the lives they have led. Devastatingly perceptive and emotionally wise, Expectation deserves to feature on many a book prize shortlist this year.
In this brilliant portrayal of long-term friendships, Cate, Lissa and Hannah find themselves wrestling with failing careers and faltering marriages...
I was gripped.
After two stunning hisorical novels, Anna Hope has turned her attention to modern life. In her latest work, she charts the course of a 10-year friendship between three women as they navigate careers, marriage and dashed dreams. Expectations will resonate with approximately 99% of women.