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Tessa Hadley Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Accidents in the Home (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Everything Will Be All Right (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Master Bedroom (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The London Train (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Clever Girl (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Past (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Late in the Day (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Free Love (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

My Mother's Wedding (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cecilia Awakened (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Sunstroke and Other Stories (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Married Love and Other Stories (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bad Dreams and Other Stories (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
After the Funeral and Other Stories (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Henry James and the Imagination of Pleasure (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Granta 89: The Factory(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Eagle in the Maze(2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The O. Henry Prize Stories 2019(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best Short Stories 2021: The O. Henry Prize Winners(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Reverse Engineering II(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Book of Bristol(2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Tessa Hadley is a British novelist known for her short stories and novels focusing on issues of family relationships and the manner in which they can shape lives. The winner of a Windham-Campbell Literature Prize, Tessa is considered to be one of the best contemporary writers to come out of England.


Tessa Hadley is the daughter of a teacher and jazz trumpeter, and an amateur artist. She is also sister to Peter Nichols, a famous playwright. Born in 1956, Tessa took to writing very early on. A student of Clare College and the University of Cambridge, while the author was keen on putting her BA in English to good use, the publishing industry was initially resistant to Tessa’s attempts at following her passion.

The author, who married Eric Hadley in 1982, with the couple eventually moving to Cardiff so that Eric could teach at Cardiff University and the University of Wales Institute, wrote a number of short stories and novels during the earliest years of her marriage.

She even co-authored a couple of children’s stories with her husband. However, she could never find a publisher. It was probably out of frustration that Tessa Hadley finally went back to her studies in 1993, attending Bath Spa University College where she acquired an MA in Creative writing.

She quickly followed that achievement by acquiring a PhD in 1994. Already in her thirties at this point, Tessa Hadley continued to experiment with new stories, though nothing she did ever really gave her the big publishing break she sought.

Not that Tessa spent her days sitting around and waiting for someone to finally recognize her talents. With a PhD in hand, it wasn’t that hard for the author to get a position teaching creative writing, a career she has continued to pursue even after 2002, when ‘Accidents in the Home’, her first book, was finally published.

It takes a special kind of person to take the path that eventually saw Tessa Hadley achieve her dreams. The author had to balance teaching with writing, raising her children and being a good wife to her husband.

The rigors of her tasks did little to dissuade her from her path, though; and the author has since garnered a number of accolades for her efforts, not only winning awards but becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (2009) and the chair of the New Welsh review’s editorial board.

+Literary Career

Tessa Hadley writes for both children and adults, and she has written both full length novels and short stories. The author’s tales tend to take place in the 1950s, though she has written a number of stories set in later years and even the present day.

Tessa’s books place a spotlight on family relationships; they have been commended for being very realistic in their exploration of subjects like marriage and divorce. Tessa likes to highlight the ordinary nature of life, with her writing style attempting to suggest that life doesn’t have to constitute abrupt transformations and changes to be extraordinary.

Tessa’s fans appreciate the fact that her books are so personal, though she has been criticized for sacrificing plot for the sake of being wise. In fact, some of Tessa’s books have no plot to speak of and instead focus solely on exploring ordinary life in an ordinary world.

The fact that Tessa Hadley shows no restraint when tackling issues like class difference and infidelity sets her apart. She drags readers into the minds and perspectives of her readers and forces them to engage in the raw emotions that pervade mortal life.

Tessa likes to write about women in their forties and fifties. She enjoys painting pictures of the challenges they face in any of the decades she chooses to explore.

Tessa’s nonfiction works often find her exploring the literary efforts of authors like Jane Austen and Henry James.

For her efforts Tessa Hadley has won the O. Henry Prize, The Story Prize, and the Orange Prize, not to mention the BBC National Short Story Award.

+Accidents in the Home

‘Accidents in the Home’ tells the story of a 29-year-old mother of three by the names of Clare Verey. Clare has a decent life. She is happy with everything she has, this including a devoted husband, children and an active life at home.

So she is more than a little apprehensive when her best friend’s lover begins to upend her world. And she can do little more than succumb to a desire that only seems to grow with the passing of time, seemingly never satisfied.

This book takes a very insightful look into an extended family. The story picks up with a housewife and her children. It then begins to expand, placing emphasis on the different members of the family, with each member’s perspective presented in a series of short stories.

Clare isn’t always likable as a protagonist, especially when she allows her vague yearnings for excitement to drive her to abandon her marriage. Love and loss are the primary themes of the story, not to mention yearning.

Each one of Tessa Hadley’s characters keeps yearning for something greater than their comfortable and predictable lives.

It becomes a little difficult to keep up with all the relations after a while; fortunately, Tessa provides a family tree that helps readers make sense of things.

+Everything Will Be All Right

This book takes a long and hard look at the life of a woman and the difficult decisions that all the women that come after her face when they encounter the dullness of ordinary life in a home.

Joyce Stevenson knew she wanted more when her widowed mother took them to live their Aunt Vera. To Joyce, both women were powerless, her mother worn out by housework and Aunt Vera unable to see life outside the pursuits of her mind.

Joyce was certain that art school would give her the escape she needed. She was also certain that once she married, she would walk a happier path far different from the mistakes that consumed her mother and aunt. But Joyce’s daughter Zoe only ever saw her as a bourgeois housewife.

Upon having her own baby, Zoe was no more effective at escaping the restraints of motherhood than her mother and grandmother.

In this book, Tessa Hadley does an amazing job of exploring the lives of four generations of women. The characters she writes are very realistic, and they make realistic decisions.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Tessa Hadley

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