One’s past life is, usually, comfortably past.One’s past life is, usually, comfortably past. Susan Morrow’s first husband, Edward, is so firmly in her past that his second wife even sends her Christmas cards, signed ‘love’. Apart from that once-a-year token, she hasn’t heard from Edward in two decades. Their early marriage had been brief, and at cross-purposes: she had wanted a conventional bourgeois life, while he wanted to write — worse, he wanted to be a writer.Now, out of her past, comes a novel from Edward, with a note saying ‘Damn! but this book is good.’ But it’s still missing something, he fears, and he asks his long-ex-wife to read it, and tell him what.Most of Tony and Susan is taken up with Susan’s — and our — reading of Edward’s manuscript, Nocturnal Animals, a story of highway abduction, rape and revenge, a vicious, fast-paced thriller that bursts into Susan’s superficially contented life, in the gaps between teaching adult education, her heart-surgeon husband’s trip to a medical convention (combined with a possible affair) and the daily routine of cooking, housekeeping and child-rearing.