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Tessa Hadley

Clever Girl

Tessa Hadley Clever Girl
$20.79 New
 
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Main description:

Clever Girl is an indelible story of one woman’s life, unfolded in a series of beautifully sculpted episodes that illuminate an era, moving from the 1960s to today, from one of Britain’s leading literary lights—Tessa Hadley—the author of the New York Times Notable Books Married Love and The London Train.

Like Alice Munro and Colm Tóibin, Tessa Hadley brilliantly captures the beauty, innocence, and irony of ordinary lives—an ability to transform the mundane into the sublime that elevates domestic fiction to literary art.

Written with the celebrated precision, intensity, and complexity that have marked her previous works, Clever Girl is a powerful exploration of family relationships and class in modern life, witnessed through the experiences of an English woman named Stella. Unfolding in a series of snapshots, Tessa Hadley’s moving novel follows Stella from the shallows of childhood, growing up with a single mother in a Bristol bedsit in the 1960s, into the murky waters of middle age.

Clever Girl is a story vivid in its immediacy and rich in drama—violent deaths, failed affairs, broken dreams, missed chances. Yet it is Hadley’s observations of everyday life, her keen skill at capturing the ways men and women think and feel and relate to one another, that dazzles.

Review quote:

“Accomplished, elegant....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.”

Review quote:

“An intimate, engrossing and eminently English coming of middle-age story from one of Britain’s finest writers….The narrative is episodic and deeply personal, but slowly coalesces to form a mosaic of British life over the past 50 years.”

Review quote:

“Compelling….For all Stella’s spikiness and grittiness, there is a sensuousness to Hadley’s writing which revels in richly prolix descriptions of sights and states of mind….Hadley has a genius for pithy analysis….The result consistently rings true despite its very literary artistry.”

Review quote:

“Hadley remains so fixed in Stella’s viewpoint that whatever this stubborn, lonely, eloquent character has to tell us, we accept....Subtle, intelligent, and realistic storytelling.”

Review quote:

“Involving…. Intrigues and engages…. The smooth narrative echoes Hadley’s cool and precise prose.... There’s plenty of family drama (including murder) but Hadley’s strength is in describing what is often left unnoticed.”

Review quote:

“It’s this very ordinariness that makes Hadley’s book so captivating. Clever Girl is one of those glorious novels about nothing in particular and everything there is in life, all at the same time.”

Review quote:

“Like Munro, Hadley is a writer both exact and lyrical, and there are many pleasures to be found along the way, particularly her sensual descriptions of nature, adolescence, and maternity.”

Review quote:

“Lives which are unsophisticated yet experienced intensely, and gorgeously erudite prose are the distinguishing features of Tessa Hadley’s writing.”

Review quote:

“One woman’s story comes to exemplify a whole era in this marvelous novel. Tessa Hadley writes with a poet’s attentiveness to language, and finds the profound and wondrous in the seemingly quietest of lives.”

Review quote:

“Quietly brilliant….Hadley has always been adept at drawing out the unrecognisable from the “With Clever Girl, Tessa Hadley examines the blunt force of young adulthood. She deftly portrays this short stretch of time in which we make many of the most important decisions of our lives, all while driving under the influence of ignorance and inchoate sexuality.”


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