It is 11th June 1994 in the depths of Herefordshire, and Natasha Devereux’s family and two hundred guests gather together to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the day when she and her husband opened the doors of their home to artists of all kinds and to refugees from war-torn Europe. St Martin’s, so long a sanctuary, is now itself under threat. Yet it retains its power to change people’s lives, force them to confront their problems, and send them off in new directions.
Five generations of the family, over the course of the day, face marital breakdown, impending birth, teenage trauma, a father’s roving eye, momentous news from the past, communal financial crisis, and a lost love from the summer of ’57.
Focusing on a single day, The Anniversary also ranges widely in time and place through an exploration of memory, from Natasha’s home in pre-Revolutionary Russia to the present. The occasion of the anniversary shakes the kaleidoscope of collective memory and thus refashions the pattern of many lives. As evening draws in, decisions have been taken, there has been a birth, and a death, but above all a celebration and an affirmation of a remarkable life’s work.
Witty and poignant, The Anniversary sweeps the reader into the history of a family, a community and an era.