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Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson


2013-08-28
http://charlottemendelson.com/books/almost-english/


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. \'Combe Abbey, a public school rooted in tradition, might seem the perfect destination for a teenage girl desperate to escape her claustrophobic home life; but a half-Hungarian Londoner is unlikely to pass without notice. Meanwhile, back at home, how are her idiosyncratic family coping without her?

Mendelson\'s account of imperfect escape is as witty as it is painful\' Guardian Holiday reading: The best books to pack this summer

\'Mendelson\'s novels are perfectly balanced observations of human nature captured in all its hideous glories. As intelligent as it is funny, her writing is brilliant ...A joy\' Viv Groskop, Observer
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