Personality by Andrew O'Hagan

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Synopsis

Growing up on the Scottish island of Bute, Maria Tambini is a young girl with dreams of escape from her Italian immigrant family. When her amazing voice wins her a talent show at the tender age of thirteen, she is whisked off to London and instant stardom in the entertainment industry.
But even as Maria is celebrating her greatest success, she is waging a hidden battle against her own body, and becoming in the process a living exhibit in the modern drama of celebrity. Can she be saved by love? Or will she be consumed by an obsessive celebrity culture, family lies, and by her number-one fan?
Based closely on the life story of a famous singer, this stunning novel is at once a rich portrait of an immigrant community and a tragic tale of the hidden costs of celebrity.
 

About Andrew O'Hagan

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ANDREW O'HAGAN was born in Glasgow, Scotland.áHis previous novelsáhave been awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize,áthe James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the E. M. Forster Award.
 
Published April 7, 2003 by Faber & Faber. 336 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Personality

Kirkus Reviews

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Maria Tambini grows up on the isolated Scottish Island of Bute, raised by her unmarried mother.

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The Guardian

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David Lodge has brilliantly analysed Evelyn Waugh's blank drama of telephone dialogue in Vile Bodies , and Andrew O'Hagan has learned the technique in giving the phone dialogue between Maria and her mother in Personality .

Jan 29 2005 | Read Full Review of Personality

The Guardian

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Yet it exemplifies one special use of dramatic monologue: speaking garrulously of what cannot be spoken.

Jan 22 2005 | Read Full Review of Personality

The Guardian

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She wor ried that this might not have much to do with Maria, but reassured herself that life was full of indeterminate narratives that don't fit and that stylistic devices such as these would help win the Booker.

Apr 03 2003 | Read Full Review of Personality

The Guardian

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(Muriel Spark, we sense before we are told, must have got Miss Jean Brodie from life.) Yet only a certain kind of novel includes "real people" who, by some kind of celebrity, are already known to us - whose voices we have heard.

Jan 15 2005 | Read Full Review of Personality

The Guardian

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Lucia, Maria's monumentally self-righteous grandmother, is a woman who "kept watch for the moments of grime in other people's lives", and goes to sleep "with the slow-breathing certainty that people failed to live their lives decently".

Apr 05 2003 | Read Full Review of Personality

The Guardian

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Personality by Andrew O'Hagan Faber £16.99, pp327 Celebrity - its lures and trials - is the subject of Andrew O'Hagan's multifaceted second novel, Personality, which tells a rags-to-riches-to-rags-tale of a child star.

Mar 23 2003 | Read Full Review of Personality

Publishers Weekly

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Many of the rags-to-riches music scenes are familiar, but O'Hagan portrays Maria's food problems with grace and compassion (diet soda feels "like a passing shower of rain inside, and harmless, under control, the taste of zero").

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London Review of Books

There is so much wit in this book, so much energy and affection, especially for the members of the Scottish community Maria leaves behind when she heads south to find fame (her depressed mother, her haunted grandmother, the mother’s flamboyant boyfriend, Maria’s gay uncle, her Indian schoolfriend...

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