Identity, belonging and family are the focal themes of the Booker Prize-shortlisted author and screenwriter, who was born in St Kitts but grew up in West Yorkshire during the 1960s and 1970s. Phillips cleverly stitches together two separate narratives, imagining the early years of Emily Bronte’s conflicted protagonist Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, which he interweaves with the Sixties-set story of Wakefield-born dreamer and social recluse Monica who drops out of Oxford and cuts all ties with her parents after falling for Caribbean graduate Julius.
The couple’s eventual acceptance of the failure of their marriage sees her heading back up north, alone with her two young sons. The brooding landscapes of the moors merge two reflective tales of a sense of place and home. A beautiful but haunting read.