Prologue

A man of sixty-eight is standing on a Cornish beach, peeing on small molluscs.

A woman of sixty-three is trying to fillet a mackerel in a low, dark kitchen in a lime-washed and slate-roofed house.

A girl of twenty-three is standing on the set of a commercial in a studio in Shepperton, near London.

A man of twenty-eight is hiring a car from Alamo Rentals, in Buffalo-Niagara, New York State.

A woman of thirty-two is sitting on her bed, her things packed, in the Federal Correctional Facility, Loon Lake, New York State.

These are all the Judds, previously of London N1, now scattered, but, like leaves caught in a vortex of wind, about to be gathered up.