Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2013.
This is a bright book about dark subjects: a tale about kindness and its limits, told with love. Spiked with witty dialogue, and jostling with gleeful, zesty characters, it is a glorious debut novel from an acclaimed writer of poetry, non-fiction, and short stories.
Literary Giant seeks young man to push bathchair. Own room in Hampstead, all found, exciting cultural milieu. Modest wage. Ideal 'gap year' opportunity. Apply Prys Box 4224XXC. 'It's only England,' said Mr Fox, 'just a few hours on the train. You can always come home.' 'Ah've never been though,' said Struan, 'never been South.' 'Then you should,' said Mr Fox, 'you really should.' So it is that Struan Robertson, orphan, genius, and just seventeen, leaves his dour native town of Cuik, and arrives in London in the freakish fine summer of 1989. His job, he finds, is to care for Phillip, dumbfounded and paralysed by a massive stroke, because, though two teenage children, two wives, and a literary agent all rattle round Phillip's large house, they are each too busy with their peculiar obsessions to do it themselves. As the city bakes, Struan finds himself tangled in a midsummer's dream of mistaken identity, giddying property prices, wild swimming, and overwhelming passions. For everyone, it is to be a life-changing summer.
Closing date: 04/07/2018
'With wit and zest, Clanchy creates social comedy out of teeth-clenching situations ... Clanchy's trenchant, often very funny prose also shimmers with sensual pleasures ... Meeting the English is a richly conceived, original and very entertaining novel.'
'A comedy of manners with a sharp edge ... With its cast of artsy, highly strung, badly behaved north Londoners, Meeting the English feels like an updated Iris Murdoch novel, with sharper haircuts and more Laura Ashley furnishings.'
Independent on Sunday
'A charming comic novel with an appealing lightness of touch'
'Meeting the English is a comedy of manners and a comedy of morals ... [it] has a frothy charm. Moreover, in the rather appalling Myfanwy, Clanchy presents us with a character whom it is a pleasure to meet in a novel, though one would fly from her in real life.'
'Lacerating social observation mixed with Shakespearean comedy powers Kate Clanchy's first novel ... her agility with language makes the sentences shimmer.'
'An exceptional first novel ... Clanchy switches multi-viewpoints adroitly ... she has a wincingly accurate eye for social comedy, a vivid descriptive sense, and profound understanding of her characters. This is a delectable read -- it should certainly be on one or more of this year's awards lists.'
'What unfolds is a long, hot summer with more than a little Midsummer Night's Dream about it. The gloriously heady heat, high-running tempers and emotions are offset by the cool lightness of Clanchy's prose, shot through with a wonderfully refreshing comedic breeze. Meeting the English is an utter delight.'
'Felicity Wood finds Kate Clanchy's literary debut, Meeting the English, to be a charming and comedic coming-of-age novel ... very funny indeed; a literary novel that manages to pack an irreverent punch and take a wry look at the fashion and sensibilities of the late 1980s.'
Publication date: 09/05/2013
Publisher: Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan
|Publication date:||9th May 2013|
|Publisher:||Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction,|
Kate Clanchy was born and grew up in Scotland but now lives in England. She is a popular poet: her collections, Slattern, Samarkand and Newborn have brought her many literary awards and an unusually wide audience. She has also written extensively for Radio 4 and reviews and writes comment for the Guardian.More About Kate Clanchy