Appleby House by Sylvia Smith

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Appleby House is Sylvia Smith’s delightful, refreshingly candid account of a year spent in a shabby bed-sit in1980s London’s East End.

Smith’s engrossing, understated narrative invests the story of shared living: shifting allegiances, cleaning negotiations, debates about whose turn it is to change the toilet paper (it’s color-coded) and who’s been stealing whose hot water (50p buys 2 baths) with compulsive suspense of the highest order. As tensions build around Laura’s adamant refusal to turn down her music or pretend to care about what her housemates have to say, we find ourselves astonishingly addicted to the goings on in this tiny corner of the universe. In the most artless and amusing way, Appleby House thoroughly indulges our very human fascination with the day-to-day and the surprising, often inexplicable, behavior of our fellow members of the species.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Sylvia Smith

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Published December 18, 2007 by Anchor. 178 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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her floor-mate plays the TV and stereo much too loudly, and the other residents consider her a “selfish cow.” In an easy voice conspicuous in its flatness, Smith tells readers, “the toilet was an absolute disgrace,” and, “living next to Laura made life unpleasant and I considered what to do about...

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The Guardian

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Appleby House Sylvia Smith Picador £9.99, pp160 Sylvia Smith's first book, Misadventures, was the non-event that became an event: the autobiography of a secretary from the East End to whom nothing much happened until she decided to publish her life story in hilariously puny slices.

Jul 14 2002 | Read Full Review of Appleby House

Publishers Weekly

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The writing style echoes the simplicity of the lives of the residents of Appleby House, although the prose is frequently graceless and clichéd: "She walked towards me," Smith writes of her housemate Sharon, "with a big smile on her face and greeted me with a cheery 'Hi.' We were soon deep in con...

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Warning: No matter how much you wind up loving Sylvia Smith's new novel Appleby House, do not attempt to explain the story line to friends.

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