The Whites are an ordinary British family: love, hatred, sex and death hold them together, and tear them apart. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Alfred White, a London park keeper, still rules his home with fierce conviction and inarticulate tenderness. May, his clever, passive wife, loves Alfred but conspires against him. Their three children are no longer close; the successful elder son, Darren, has escaped to the USA. When Alfred collapses on duty, his beautiful, childless daughter Shirley, who lives with Leroy, a black social worker, is brought face to face with Alfred's younger son Dirk, who hates and fears all black people. The scene is set for violence. In the end Alfred and May are forced to make a climactic decision: does justice matter more than kinship? This ambitious, groundbreaking novel takes on the taboo subject of racial hatred as it looks for the roots of violence within the family and within British society.