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The Clothes On Their Backs

Orange Prize, 2008

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781844085422

Price: £9.99

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SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE

In a red brick mansion block off the Marylebone Road, Vivien, a sensitive, bookish girl grows up sealed off from both past and present by her timid refugee parents. Then one morning a glamorous uncle appears, dressed in a mohair suit, with a diamond watch on his wrist and a girl in a leopard-skin hat on his arm. Why is Uncle Sándor so violently unwelcome in her parents’ home?

This is a novel about survival – both banal and heroic – and a young woman who discovers the complications, even betrayals, that inevitably accompany the fierce desire to live.

Set against the backdrop of a London from the 1950s to the present day, The Clothes on Their Backs is a wise and tender novel about the clothes we choose to wear, the personalities we dress ourselves in, and about how they define us all.

Reviews

** 'It's a sublimely atmospheric and moving novel
LONDON PAPER
** 'If you read only one novel this year, make sure it is The Clothes on Their Backs
SUNDAY EXPRESS
** 'This is a vivid, enjoyable and consistently unexpected novel
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
** 'A beautifully written and truly moving book about the experience of growing up in Britain as a second generation immigrant
EXPRESS