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Duncan Edgeworth rules over his family with steely authority in a country village of idyllic beauty, rapacious gossip and motives of the purest malignity. A crowd of neighbours watches on as Duncan’s scandalous remarriage sparks the chaos that will engulf his family and set off a battle of wills in their tangled community.
Unfolding almost entirely in dialogue of vicious wit and layered implications, A House and its Head is a brutally funny demolition of Victorian patriarchal authority and the hypocrisy of English society. Republished after decades out of print, it confirms Ivy Compton-Burnett’s status as the twentieth century’s greatest chronicler of the violent dysfunction of families.