The Friendly Ones is the timely, beautifully written new novel about two families thrown together by their twisted histories. On a warm Sunday afternoon, Nazia and Sharif are preparing for a family barbecue. In the garden next door is a retired doctor, whose four children have long since left home. The secret wound that overshadows the Spinsters, their neighbours, is of a different kind: Leo, the eldest son, running away from Oxford University aged eighteen. How do you put these things right, in England, now? When the shadow of death passes over Nazia and Sharif’s party, Doctor Spinster’s actions are going to bring the two families together, for decades to come. This is a superb piece of storytelling that spans decades, takes in racism, passion and exile, with a big and beautifully drawn cast of characters all making their different ways towards lives that make sense.