desmond elliott 2017 twitter debuts of the month
Search our site
The Course of History Ten Meals That Changed the World by Struan Stevenson, Tony Singh Read the opening extract of the brand new Struan Stevenson, Tony Singh book before its publication on 24/10/2017

Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson
  

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Longlisted for the 2014 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

Peter, beloved son of Rozsi, is gone, assumed dead so Rozsi and her two sisters take in Peter’s wife and child. These wonderful aristocratic Central European ladies, who now reside in London, are a dream to meet. But this is the teenage girl and her mother’s story. I am told there are autobiographical elements to the tale which is full of angst and doubt and lovely, lovely characters. Family secrets, affairs, teenage crushes and that dreaded word cancer cover these pages as our central characters sort out their lives. It is a wonderful book, highly recommended.

If you like Charlotte Mendelson you might also like to read books by Maria Semple, Maggie O'Farrell and Deborah Moggach.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Win a Set of 10 Bloomsbury Modern Classics!

This month Bloomsbury has launched a series of ten modern classics chosen from highlights of the publisher's last thiry years, each with an eye-catching, iconic illustrated cover - and we have a full set to give away!

The ten titles are Restless by William Boyd, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale and The Little Friend by Donna Tartt.

To have a chance of winning this fantastic prize, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 6 November 2017. The winners will be notified by 20 November 2017.

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 06/11/2017

Synopsis

Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013 Home is a foreign country: they do things differently there. In a tiny flat in West London, sixteen-year-old Marina lives with her emotionally delicate mother, Laura, and three ancient Hungarian relatives. Imprisoned by her family's crushing expectations and their fierce unEnglish pride, by their strange traditions and stranger foods, she knows she must escape. But the place she runs to makes her feel even more of an outsider. At Combe Abbey, a traditional English public school for which her family have sacrificed everything, she realises she has made a terrible mistake. She is the awkward half-foreign girl who doesn't know how to fit in, flirt or even be. And as a semi-Hungarian Londoner, who is she? In the meantime, her mother Laura, an alien in this strange universe, has her own painful secrets to deal with, especially the return of the last man she'd expect back in her life. She isn't noticing that, at Combe Abbey, things are starting to go terribly wrong.

Reviews

'Charlotte Mendelson is much admired by the cognoscenti and Almost English ought to be a bestseller. The account of a girl from a family of Hungarian aunts, dealing with love and old lechers at a ghastly boarding school in the 1980s, is sheer bliss - pure rueful comedy with endless resourcefulness ... I adore her novels and wish there were many more of them'
Philip Hensher, Spectator

'Mendelson's keen eye for what makes relationships tick has already led to a place on the shortlist for the Women's (formerly Orange) Prize and new novel Almost English is as good as we'd hoped ... This funny, wise and heart-warming 1980s-set novel is perfect summer reading'
Elle

'Exotic, magnificent and just a little bit sinister, it is the Hungarian characters who take over this beautifully written novel ... Mendelson's novels inhabit similar territory to those of Maggie O'Farrell, with the same capacity for extreme noticing, the same profound emotional intelligence shaping the characters and driving the narrative. But Mendelson's world is sharper, her sense of the world a little more cynical. Almost English has been longlisted for this year's Booker; it deserves to win for the quality of the writing alone ... Almost English is a delight. Beautifully written, warm, funny and knowing, it manages to seize an entire slice of Europe for itself, a vast empire full of new and interesting questions about how close, and how far apart, all these postwar worlds have made us. Above all, it is written with love. And good food'
Observer

'Charlotte Mendelson's fourth novel is a deliciously funny tale of dysfunctional families. The Farkases recall characters from fairy tales or Roald Dahl: an all-female household comprising three pensioners, an abandoned wife and a teenage girl squeezed into a tiny flat in the barely respectable depths of Bayswater . Reading Mendelson's easy, assured prose is like sinking into something soft and velvety'
Telegraph Top 10 Summer Holiday Reads

'Charlotte Mendelson's Man Booker Prize-longlisted novel takes that most English of literary genres - the boarding school comedy - and spices it with exotic ingredients drawn from Hungarian culture ... Almost English is Mendelson's fourth novel - her previous book, When We Were Bad (2007), was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction - and it demonstrates a mastery of narrative craft ... the prose is a pure joy ... And the whole book is sprinkled with handsome Hungarian phrases - Krumplisalata, Hogy vagy, Egyszersmind - like a strudel dusted with sugar. It makes for a deliciously moreish read'
Financial Times

'The Booker longlisted novel is a warm, wry and lively account of teenager Marina ... the humanity in Mendelson's observations and her clever, comic writing make this a sparkling treat'
Metro

'Almost English is long-listed for this year's Man Booker Prize, and Charlotte Mendelson writes of the inner monologues and quiet frustrations that plague an all-female, half-Hungarian household trying to fit into society with a wry humour that carries echoes of Zadie Smith and Zoe Heller'
Stylist

About the Author

Charlotte Mendelson

Charlotte Mendelson was born in London in 1972 and grew up in Oxford. She has written and reviewed for, among other places, the TLS, the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday and the Observer and now works as a publisher. She lives in North London with her family.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

27th March 2014

Author

Charlotte Mendelson

More books by Charlotte Mendelson
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Author's Website

www.charlottemendelson.com/...
Loading twitter updates...

Publisher

Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Format

Paperback
400 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Family Drama
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781447220008

They are bright, breezy and eager to offer a great book, then genuinely listen/respect the review one writes.

Maggie Crane

I love reading books I wouldn't normally choose before everyone else gets to read them!

Dawn Lynch

Lovereading tells me about new books before they hit the shelves, lets me find other authors I may like and has great prize draws!

Sheila Dale

You'll always find what you never knew you were looking for and you're always spoilt for choice.

Helen Jones

What can I say, the clue is in the title Lovereading - and awesome books.

Sarah Davis

Lovereading has all the new books and also suggestions for 'similar' authors whilst waiting for your favourites new books.

Carol Peace

Lovereading has given me the opportunity to delve into new and exciting worlds of authors who I would never have tried before.

Glynis Elliott

A great place to go to find your next literary escape, and where you don't have to judge a book by its cover!

Suzanne Beney

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools