Things We Nearly Knew

to be published by Picador, January 2018


These people will tell you about themselves, over a drink, in a quiet corner. Some of it might even be true.

There’s a bar at the crossroads on the way out of town. Or the way in, depending on whether you’re coming or going. Marcie and her husband have run it for years. They had children once, but not anymore. After thirty years of marriage, there aren’t many secrets left. Couples often tell themselves that, although it’s not always true.

Arlene appeared in the bar one day not long before Frankie Albertino came back, thinking she’d find someone she’d once known, looking for a man named Jack. Frankie was hoping that people might have forgotten the mess he left the first time around. Both of them were wrong. Women were always Frankie’s problem. Women and money. What Arlene’s problem is isn’t clear to anyone. It’s obvious she has a history, but then which of us doesn’t?

As Arlene gets closer to finding Jack – her father? Her lover? – the bar becomes a scene of a great unravelling; secrets buried a lifetime ago are dragged into the light. Jim Powell invites us to consider how much we know about the ones we love, and asks: would you want to know the truth?