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Almost English

by Charlotte Mendelson

If you were embarrassed by your family as a teenager then spare a thought for Marina driven to a disastrous experiment by her rather pathetic mother and a host of elderly Hungarian relatives. Funny and touching on one level, but at another this is an exploration of secrecy and the damage it can do to a family. Each member has her secrets - what might their unraveling bring? I was left wanting to know.

Extract

It cannot be normal for a teenager to be so reserved. What if living with the world's most formal pensioners has somehow over-matured her? Was it something to do with that rather lumpen boy at the party, when Marina was so set-faced, so gloweringly wooden that any (dear God) thought of romance on his part must have stuttered and died? Or could it be that bloody school with its petty rules, its cheese-paring insistence on charging for every tiny 'extra', its complacency?

Parallels

Hungarian Dances by Jessica Duchen
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
 

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