In A Shock, a clutch of more or less loosely connected characters appear, disappear and reappear. They are all ofthem on the fringes of London life, often clinging on – to sanity or solvency or a story – by their fingertips.Keith Ridgway, author of the acclaimed Hawthorn & Child, writes about people whose understanding of their ownsituation is only ever partial and fuzzy, who are consumed by emotions and anxieties and narratives, or the lackthereof, that they cannot master. He focuses on peripheral figures who mean well and to whom things happen, and happen confusingly, and his fictional strategies reflect this focus. In a deftly conjured high-wire act, Ridgwayachieves the fine balance between the imperatives of drama and fidelity to his characters. The result is pin-sharp and often breathtaking.