the guardian Fri 17 April 2009
A middle-aged couple in an ungentrified part of Hackney, expecting their first baby and covering up the cracks in their middle-class hopes with escapes to the posher bits of London and cupboards full of exotic food and herbal remedies are easy to laugh at. But Emily Perkins makes their delusions and paranoia the stuff of raw, unnerving tragedy. As Tom Stone begins his narration, we know that his wife Ann has died. While he celebrates their passionate love affair, recalls his fears over money as his scriptwriting work dries up, and details Ann's increasingly erratic behaviour as the pregnancy progresses, the gaps in what he knows about his wife grow ominously bigger. Tom's self-deprecation is superficially attractive, and he appears the attentive, self-aware modern man, but as Ann's fears about an unseen stalker and manic nesting take over their lives, he fails to see how intent she is on self-destruction. Perkins expertly depicts a relationship doomed to jump the tracks and shows with compassion how love masks the warning signs.