This is my fifth novel. It came to me quite suddenly, when I was driving towards London and passed a smallholding – a bungalow surrounded by muddy fields, the sort that have old buses and lorry containers in them.. Maybe there were pigs too, I can’t remember. But it was near Heathrow Airport and I saw, very clearly, a girl stepping out of the house. She was dressed as an air stewardess and I knew that her father had been having sex with her since she was 11 and the only way she could escape would be to fly away. She wasn’t there, of course – she was only in my head. But I had been thinking a great deal about incest – this was in 1981, when it was little spoken of – and suddenly the whole story told itself to me. The girl, Heather, told it to me. I just had to write it down, which I did, in a rush; it took about six months, flat out.. That hinterland around an airport, a place for transients, is a strong presence in the book too. I was, and remain, haunted by Heather and her story, and still wonder about her, all these years later. She would be a middle aged woman now.
At school they called her Porky on account of the pigs her family kept outside their bungalow near Heathrow. But she felt no different – not until she realised she was losing her innocence in a way that none of her friends could possibly imagine. Only a child robbed of her childhood can know too late what it means to be loved too little and loved too much…
“At once eerily exuberant and bleak, this ia a compassionate, tough book.”
“Deborah Moggach conveys with chilling skill the process by which a fundamentally bright, decent child becomes infested by corruption.”
“It illuminates with great compassion how love can so easily go off the rails.”