In the late 80s, Katherine Carlyle is created using IVF. Stored as a frozen embryo for eight years, she is then implanted in her mother and given life. By the age of nineteen Katherine has lost her mother to cancer, and feels her father to be an increasingly distant figure. Instead of going to college, she decides to disappear, telling no one where she has gone. What begins as an attempt to punish her father for his absence gradually becomes a testing-ground of his love for her, a coming-to-terms with the death of her mother, and finally the mise-en-scene for a courageous leap from false empowerment to true empowerment.
Written in the beautifully spare, lucid and cinematic prose that Thomson is known for, Katherine Carlyle uses the modern techniques of IVF and cryopreservation to throw new light on the myth of origins. It is a profound and moving novel about where we come from, what we make of ourselves, and how we are loved.