novelist and critic, born in London. After a disturbed childhood, some of it spent in institutional care, she studied anthropology, a discipline which informs much of her fiction. Her bold and painful first novel, Nothing Natural (1986), describes an independent, socially responsible single mother in London trapped in a sado‐masochistic relationship. Rainforest (1987) is an ecological drama about sexual obsession, chaos, and order. Other novels, which continue to investigate social and sexual roles, and extreme states of consciousness, include Then Again (1990), Happily Ever After (1991), Monkey's Uncle (1994), and The Dream Mistress (1996). Her novel Only Human: A Comedy (2000) is a retelling of the biblical story of Abraham and Sarah and continues in After These Things (2004). A volume of autobiography, Skating to Antarctica (1997), describes her passion for oblivion symbolized by a voyage to Antarctica. Stranger on a Train (2002) is a travel book about a railway journey through the USA.