This electrifying new novel forms the triumphant conclusion to the great Frederica quartet depicting the forces in English life from the early 50s to 1970.While Frederica the spirited heroine of Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, and Babel Tower falls almost by accident into a career in television in London, tumultuous events in her home county of Yorkshire threaten to change her life and those of the people she loves. In the late 1960s the world begins to split. Near the university, where the scientists Luk and Jacqueline are studying snails and neurons and the working of the brain, an anti university springs up. On the high moors nearby, a gentle therapeutic community is taken over by a turbulent, charismatic leader. Visions of blood and flames, of mirrors and doubles, share the refracting energy of Frederica s mosaic like television shows. The languages of religion, myth and fairy tale overlap with the terms of science and the new computer age. Darkness and light are in perpetual tension and the meaning of love itself seems to vanish; people flounder, often comically, to find their true sexual, intellectual and emotional identity.The focus of these novels first widened from the old nuclear family to the experimental group and now narrows again to reveal the different, modern patterns of intimacy which emerged in these years. Through her wayward, lovingly drawn characters and breath taking twists of plot, Byatt illuminates the effervescence of the 1960s both its excitements and its dangers as no one has done before. A Whistling Woman is the ultimate novel of ideas made flesh gloriously sensual, sexy and scary, bursting with ideas, contradictions, scientific discoveries, ethical conflicts, sly humour and wonderful humanity.