Incidental Music, Lydia Perović's debut novel, are concerned with all these things, and intertwine to create a satisfying and thought-provoking read. The histories of three women unfold amid the Georgian houses of Toronto and avenues of mid-century Budapest. Rather wonderfully, the events of the novel also take place in internet cafes and on broken pavements, in too-tidy rented rooms and dingy cubicles and academic offices. An abandoned factory can be redeemed by the first encounter of two lovers, an opulent bathhouse become a prison to a lover betrayed. Unusually, each of the three protagonists is in a different life stage. Petra we meet in youth, but after its first flush of optimism has died, leaving only the uncomfortable shards of idealism to spur her on in a city where she feels herself an outsider. The sophisticated Martha inhabits a middle age balanced uneasily between fulfillment and complacency, and is trying to discern the differences between success and stagnation. Romola, a retired operatic diva, is an amazingly charismatic figure, even in the ruin of an old age where a long and painful past insists on infiltrating an increasingly fragile present.