In the title poem, the speaker sits at the window of a small hotel room. The room is a holding zone, a temporary stopping-place between memory and possibility. In the Quaker Hotel is full of questions about the world. Rooted in nature, the poems are fearful for it. They move out through identifiable landscapes (Merseyside, north Wales, Nova Scotia, southern France) to off-kilter, tilted places beyond our immediate reality. We are temporary guests in these places and in our own lives. Who will come after us, how will they see things: 'who will tend the bees / in the communal garden'?
Helen Tookey experiments with form and theme, as in her earlier books Missel-Child (Carcanet, 2014, shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize) and City of Departures (Carcanet, 2019, shortlisted for the 2019 Forward Prize for Best Collection).