Art needs a sense of lack to bring about its own effects; where there is no feeling of need to make up a shortfall, there will be no work. 'Alright' I said, 'I'll try...' This is how Emily Stuart opens the intricately involved account of a classic love affair that becomes Caroline's Bikini: a tale of hope, passion, and the power of the imagination. For they say, the story of love - or, rather, falling in love - is timeless, and that unrequited love is the most passionate of all. It's certainly a narrative that is, in its own curious and enticing way, as old as Western literature itself. The moment Emily's friend Evan Gordonstone, a successful middle-aged financier, meets the glamorous Caroline Beresford at Richmond home, we are immediately immersed a whole new kind of world. Thus begins a hypnotic series of intense conversations set against the beguiling backdrop of West London's bars, fuelled by liberal G&Ts. From early winter to July's hot swelter, Emily narrates Evan's passion for Caroline - a former horsewoman and PR expert, and now mother, hostess, housewife and landlady - to the brink of his own destruction. In a mischievously intelligent novel about desire, ambition, and friendship - about Petrarch and his Laura, Dante and Beatrice, Evan and Caroline - the acclaimed Kirsty Gunn explores the nature of courtly love in a modern world not celebrated for its restraint and abstraction. Ready. Steady. Go!