Book Review

Linda Grant Shortlisted for Booker Prize

In all the excitement over the failure of Salman Rushdie to make the Booker shortlist, I missed the news on who is in the running.

Congratulations are due to the novelist, journalist, commentator, and occasional visitor to Harry’s Place, Linda Grant, for her novel The Clothes on their Backs:

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 Sandor 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.


I have just bought it, and so should you.