Wendy Perriam

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book | 1982
Frances is on a fertility drug and sizing up the milkman. Charles is struggling between shocked disapproval and guilty desire for his own illegitimate daughter – a fifteen-year-old secret who arrives and takes over the nest. Their sterile and rule-ridden marriage (where even sex requires timetable and rule-book) begins to fall apart. In desperation, Frances seeks an escape-route, in a wild attempt to change the cold climate of her life.

In this tragic-comic study of relationships in conflict, Perriam reflects on freedom in all its different aspects, ranging motherhood against emancipation, teenage rebellion against middle-aged repression, and sexual abandonment against puritan restraint.

She also makes us laugh. Cuckoo is extremely funny, though in Perriam’s work we are often laughing at ourselves and the sad lunacy of the way we run our lives. By the end of this explosive novel, the cuckoos – and the cuckolds – are clearly coming home to roost.

‘Devilishly entertaining and surprisingly touching’ Sunday Express

‘Perriam is a writer of authority and skill, with a wicked ear for conversational quirks’ Sunday Times

Audio Rights


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Jonathan Lloyd
+44 (0)20 7393 4418
Email Jonathan Lloyd