Twenty years after Leo Quick was abandoned by his wife and left to raise their two small children, he receives a phone call bringing explosive news. Fleur, his wife, who went Africa in the fervour of Live Aid, never to be seen or heard from again, has died in Kenya. She has left behind a daughter, Star, a third child to whom Leo is father, though he knew nothing of her existence till now.
In his wife's absence, Leo has found new love with Denise, and together they have raised his two children. But the consequences of their childhood abandonment are playing out. Kester, his son, has a cocaine habit that is spiraling out of control, and Silvia is haunted by a sense of loneliness and struggling with her own demons.
With Star's arrival, long-buried hurts resurface as each of the Quicks confront the legacy of Fleur's desertion. A story of the secrets we keep and the consequences of acting upon our desires, The Absent Wife is a darkly witty, knowing and gripping exploration of a modern family in crisis.