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'Undependable, inconsistent, capricious, fickle, mercenary.'

These are some of the completely inaccurate words used to describe Miriam Short, one of literature's most self-aware heroines. She's the first person in three generations of her family not to go to university, drags a leaden sense of guilt behind her but steals, lies and occasionally kills. She desires love but can't break the gaze with her navel. She can't make progress and can't stay still.

For someone so artfully simple, Miriam is rather complicated.