This is the story of an elderly woman released from an asylum into modern Scotland after spending her entire adult life locked up in an asylum for nothing more heinous than possessing the sort of independence of mind most young women take for granted nowadays. The movement of the plot comes from our gradual discovery, through Esme's recollections and the the disordered ramblings of her sister (now suffering from Alzheimers), of the circumstances that caused her to be itnerred in the first place. Despite being shot through with a kind of gallows humour, it is really quite shocking in places and becomes increasingly painful to read. Nevertheless, I find Maggie O'Farrell's writing, with its minute observation of detail, almost physically gratifying to read. I was sorry when this book came to an end.