At 57, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden, reading historical novels, listening to a bit of light jazz. Then Katie, his tempestuous daughter, announces that she is getting remarried, to Ray. Her family isn't pleased - as her brother Jamie observes, Ray has 'strangler's hands'. Her mother Jean is a bit put out by all the planning the wedding has occasioned, which gets in the way of her affair with one of George's former colleagues. The pleasant life Jamie has created crumbles when he fails to invite his lover, Tony, to the dreaded nuptials. Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind. This is Mark Haddon's disturbing yet very funny portrait of a dignified man trying to go insane politely.