Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley

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Constructing a novel out of linked, consecutive short stories offers the writer opportunities to benefit from epiphany and liminality...To meet the needs and expectations of the reader, however, epiphany must also come with narrative responsibility.
-Guardian

Synopsis

One woman's life, from childhood to middle age, by Britain's most acute, perceptive novelist of ordinary lives.
     All the qualities that readers praised in The London Train are present in Clever Girl, Tessa Hadley's brilliant new novel. It follows the story of Stella, from her childhood as the daughter of a single mother in a Bristol bedsit in the 1960s into the mysterious shallows of her middle age. The story is full of drama -- violent deaths, an abrupt end to Stella's schooldays, two sons by different fathers who aren't around to see the boys grow up -- but as ever it is her observation of ordinary lives, of the way men and women think and feel and relate to one another, that dazzles. Yes, you think. This is how it is
 

About Tessa Hadley

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TESSA HADLEY is the author four highly praised novels, Accidents in the Home, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Everything Will Be All Right, The Master Bedroom and The London Train, and two collections of stories, Sunstroke and Married Love. She lives in Cardiff and teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University, where she has recently been appointed Professor of Creative Writing. Her stories appear regularly in the New Yorker, Granta and other magazines.
 
Published March 4, 2014 by Harper. 276 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Clever Girl
All: 4 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 3

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Kate Kellaway on May 11 2013

She makes one believe every word of Stella's story. But to feel engaged, to need to read on, you want to feel Stella could be a friend. I believed in her but could not warm to her.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Elaine Showalter on May 01 2013

Constructing a novel out of linked, consecutive short stories offers the writer opportunities to benefit from epiphany and liminality...To meet the needs and expectations of the reader, however, epiphany must also come with narrative responsibility.

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Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by Trisha Andres on Jun 14 2013

The smooth narrative echoes Hadley’s cool and precise prose but the pace with which we hurtle through each phase of Stella’s life affords only a passing encounter with many of the other characters.

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Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Nancy Wigston on Aug 06 2013

Tessa Hadley...is wonderful at surprising us with the domestic dramas that stir the embers of everyday life.

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Reader Rating for Clever Girl
65%

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