Clever Girl
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Clever Girl

By (author) Tessa Hadley

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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.

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  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 142 x 218 x 36mm | 439.99g
  • 25 Jun 2013
  • VINTAGE
  • Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • London
  • English
  • 0224096524
  • 9780224096522
  • 364,799

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Author Information

Tessa Hadley is the author of 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.

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Review quote

"As discrete entities, Hadley's short stories are intense, miniature novels in themselves; bound together in a novel, they become quietly brilliant, offering an incisive exploration into how life's individuals episodes add up to a meaningful whole." -- Francesca Angelini Sunday Times "Hadley is a writer of exceptional intelligence and skill and, for all the apparent conventionality of her vision, hers is a subtly subversive talent." -- Edmund Gordon Observer "There is something reassuring yet deliciously unexpected about a Tessa Hadley novel." -- Helen Brown Daily Telegraph "The most astute and sympathetic of writers." -- Susanna Rustin Guardian "This novel is the life story of an ordinary, middle-aged woman - Stella. Only that she is not ordinary because Tessa Hadley is writing her into existence and is behind her like a following wind... Hadley writes as a masterly illustrator might draw." -- Kate Kellaway Observer

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Review text

Tessa Hadley writes like a dream, the prose precise but funny; her psychology always seems spot on.

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Flap copy

‘Tessa Hadley is an understated writer whose concentration on the details of everyday life belies a breathtaking acuity and articulateness,’ wrote Leyla Sanai in the Independent of Hadley’s last novel, The London Train. ‘Hadley shows, with dizzying aplomb, that the distinction between “literary” fiction and the best domestic fiction is spurious.’ The critical consensus was unanimous: here, underrated till now except by a few readers who have been aficionados from the beginning of her career, was a contemporary British writer worthy to be compared to Elizabeth Bowen. As Peter Parker wrote in the Sunday Times, ‘[Hadley’s] prose is less idiosyncratic than Bowen’s but similarly shows how language, deployed with precision or daring, can make thrillingly new the textures and undercurrents of everyday life.’ 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.

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