I like setting up a seemingly happy family and then planting a stick of dynamite in the corner of the room. Light the touch paper and watch what happens. In this, my eleventh novel, I set up a family blessed by good fortune. And then see what happens when their daughter is kidnapped and they have to ruin themselves financially to get her back. It’s when she comes home that the story really starts; this is the story we never hear, in real-life cases. I wanted to explore guilt, and complex, profound family feelings which are tested to breaking-point. And, like so many of my books, I wanted to tell the story of the loss of a child – in this case, a stroppy adolescent. I’ve often drawn material from my own children, and – funnily enough – the ages of the children in my novels riss as my own son and daughter, their shadowy counterparts, grow older. I scripted this novel as a TV drama with David Suchet and Geraldine James. Its ending was changed, for various reasons; I think the book works better. I like to have a walk-on part in my productions and in this one I beat all my records by appearing about six times – as Woman Getting Into Mercedes, Woman driving expresso in Camden Lock, Woman Worshipper at Pentecostal Church in Harlesden and so on.
Take an ordinary, well-off family like the Prices. Watch what happens when one Sunday seventeen-year-old Hannah disappears without a trace. See how the family rallies when a ransom note demands half a million pounds for Hannah’s safe return.
But it’s when Hannah comes home that the story really begins.
Now observe what happens to a family when they lose their house, their status, all their wealth. Note how they disintegrate under the pressures of guilt and poverty and are forced to confront their true selves. And, finally, wait to hear about Hannah, who has the most shocking surprise in store of all.
“This is a big book…its monumental themes of sin, loss, catharsis and redemption are rich seams buried in a landscape which shifts from the somnolent suburbs to the litter-strewn streets of inner London. Every page is a testament to the storyteller’s skill at drawing you into the lives of her characters. Moggach’s observations…are so vivid and so true that you can forget that this is fiction. And yet this is artful fiction indeed…compelling.” (Times)
“Provocative, enthralling, bang up-to-the-minute, Seesaw is guaranteed to be grabbed by friends and families if, for one instant, you let it out of your sight…truly Moggach gets better and better.”