"Exceptional . . . Clanchy has a wincingly accurate eye for social comedy, a vivid descriptive sense, and profound understanding of her characters. This is a delectable read." --Daily Mail (UK)
In response to an advertisement, Struan Robertson, orphan, genius, and just seventeen, leaves his dour native town in Scotland, and arrives at a creaky mansion in London in the freakishly hot summer of 1989. His job, he finds, is to care for playwright and one-time literary star Phillip Prys, dumbfounded and paralyzed by a massive stroke, because, though Phillip's two teenage children, two wives, and a literary agent all rattle 'round his 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.
Kate Clanchy's Meeting the English is a bright book about dark subjects--a tale about kindness and its limits, told with love. It is a coming of age story for anyone who has ever felt themselves to be an outsider; a love story for the awkward; and a comedy for anyone who has ever lived in a family. Written by an acclaimed writer of poetry, non-fiction, and short stories, this glorious debut novel is spiked with witty dialogue and jostling with gleeful, zesty characters.
About Kate ClanchySee more books from this Author
Tragedy and farce combine in a Scottish-born poet’s notable debut novel, which follows an innocent abroad in London during one very hot, transformative summer...Fresh, funny and at times piercing, Clanchy’s novel introduces a savvy, impressive new voice.Read Full Review of Meeting the English | See more reviews from Kirkus
There isn’t a dull scene in “Meeting the English.” Struan proves to be the agent of change, teaching the others about compassion and self-worth...Is the conclusion of his peculiar but magical interlude too tidy?...Yes, but none of that detracts from how well Clanchy has mined this pit and its men (and women).Read Full Review of Meeting the English | See more reviews from NY Times
Clanchy, a distinguished poet, writes prose to relish. The passages in which Prys, post-stroke, tries to make sense of the odd new reality are confidently handled and convincing. A strong, rather gallant novel of family life and what (if anything) can be done about it.Read Full Review of Meeting the English | See more reviews from Financial Times
...this is a strong and rather gallant novel of family life and what (if anything) can be done about it, and I suspect absolutely no prior knowledge of Hampstead and its ways is required.Read Full Review of Meeting the English | See more reviews from Financial Times
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