Time and Tide is a fragmented novel detailing the loves and catastrophes - and catastrophic loves - of Nell, an Irish woman trying to make a life for herself in the literary world of London.
Nell is in flight from bitter, controlling, and small-minded parents, yet risks becoming just such a mother to her own sons. She seeks comfort and acceptance, yet finds death, drugs, and ‘an orgy of humiliation’ (The New York Times Book Review).
She seeks companionship, yet finds one after another predatory man: sadists, alcoholics, unscrupulous doctors, and even child molesters. Can Nell extract from the ‘the vast inhospitality of a creaking world’ some measure of beauty and grace?
The answer, of course, is yes - but at the price of many illusions.
“As her disturbing novel clearly reveals, Edna O’Brien possesses what Henry James called an imagination for disaster...[Time and Tide] is an anthology of heightened moments...never less than brilliantly expressed.” - The New York Times Book Review