Sex and Stravinsky is about two families that live far apart from each other but eventually meet. Caroline and Josh live in England with their daughter Zoe, while Hattie and Herman live in South Africa with their daughter Cat.
Caroline is Australian, tall, beautiful, and vastly capable. All her life she has been striving to please her mother, who continues to favor her other daughter Janet. Caroline leaves Australia to study in England and eventually marries Josh, a small, mild-mannered theatre academic. They struggle financially for their first few years. They are just able to afford their own house when Caroline’s mother moves to England without warning. She demands that they buy her a house and give her an allowance, and they seem unable to resist her commands. So, they continue struggling, living in a bus even though they have two professional salaries.
Hattie was Josh’s girlfriend until she met Herman. She was a ballerina despite the lack of support from her family. But when she married Herman, she started teaching and began writing a series of children’s books about a girl who wants to dance. Herman, a wealthy businessman, is away on business most of the time, and Hattie’s teenage daughter Cat treats her with contempt.
Caroline and Josh’s daughter Zoe has always wanted to learn ballet, and she adores the ballet series written by Hattie, who was Josh’s first love. But Caroline thinks Zoe is being silly about wanting to dance, even though Josh’s career deals heavily with ballet. Caroline says that in any case they can’t afford ballet lessons.
When Josh goes to a conference in South Africa, he reconnects with Hattie. Caroline finds out something shocking about her mother that sends her flying to South Africa to find Josh; Hattie finds out her lodger has a secret identity.
Trapido’s novels are witty and engaging. I always love them. They are sparkling with amusing dialogue, they have likable and not so likable characters, but ones that seem to be real people. Trapido continues to be one of my favorite writers.