Loosely based on Drabble’s own experiences, a compelling, beautifully written novel following three generations of women in one family
One hot summer afternoon in South Yorkshire, Faro sits at a lecture on genetic inheritance. She has travelled from London to the Northern mining town where generations of her family have lived and worked, to explore her own past. Decades before, in the early twentieth century, Bessie Bawtry also ponders her place in the world. A child of unusual determination and precocious intelligence, she longs for the day she will eventually escape the working-class life her ancestor would never have dreamt of leaving.
The Peppered Moth explores the way we are shaped by our environment and ancestry, told with elegant prose, wry humour and captivating storytelling, through the story of one family across generations through the twentieth century.
‘Margaret Drabble is writing, not about an individual, but about a generation, or two, or more – of women … This is a sad tale, tenderly told, embedded in a robust family chronicle’ – Doris Lessing
“One of the more absorbing novels I have read in a long time, both for its sheer storytelling ability and for its powers of imaginative conjecture”
new York Times Book Review
See more reviews
“The conflict between instinct and morality, the rough intrusion of accident into our lives, the weakness of human will – this most especially – has been her subject”
“This book is an important and interesting addition to the canon that links central preoccupations and stylistic devices of her early and later work … A thought-provoking addition to her oeuvre”
“Spellbinding, shrewd and funny, Drabble’s tale of three women is a triumph … An exuberant, intelligent and thoroughly entertaining saga of three generations”
“Insightful and atmospherically convincing”
Dame Margaret Drabble was born in Sheffield in 1939 and was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge. She is the author of twenty highly acclaimed novels. She has also written biographies, screenplays and was the editor of the Oxford Companion to English Literature. She was appointed CBE in 1980, and made DBE in the 2008 Honours list. She was also awarded the 2011 Golden PEN Award for a Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to Literature. She is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd.