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3.2 out of 5 stars
99
3.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 2 January 2015
I pressed myself to finish this book and now regret it. Whilst well written with some poignant passages, there was no one in this book to sympathise with. It was just pure angst and social ineptitude all the way to the last couple of pages where there was a quick and in satisfying close out.
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on 7 June 2014
At last I have finished what I feel was one of the least enjoyable books I have read. I only persevered with it because I had paid money for it, but it required a great deal of determination. First of all, I thought the story line was very thin and not in the least compelling. The characters were frustrating, and the plot dragged on and on without ever really getting anywhere .
The Anglo/Hungarian speak and the tendency to leave sentences unfinished in conversations I found extremely irritating.
I wish I could find some aspect of the book which I could priase, but unfortunately I cannot. I must have missed something, but it is difficult to think what that was.
I am absolutely astonished that this book was longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker prize - there are far more deserving books out there.
On the inside cover, the book is regarded as inhabiting similar territory to those of Maggle O'Farrell. I would disagree wholeheartedly. I have always enjoyed Maggie O'Farrell books, which are so cleverly written and keep you guessing.
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VINE VOICEon 15 August 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
To some degree or other we are all in exile - in the wrong place, the wrong era, the wrong body. Charlotte Mendelson writes of a family of women, three generations, all not quite where they should be. The older women living in London whilst keeping old Hungary alive within; Laura, a husbandless-wife and now a childless-mother since Marina, a six-former, is off at boarding school - with it manifold opportunities for social and sexual disgrace.

Charlotte Mendelson gives each character a distinctive voice - Laura is as fragile as glass, Marina as gauche as most of us at seventeen. The mother/daughter roles could so easily be reversed - or, perhaps, the author is pointing out that we do not really 'grow up'. Her portrayal of the three elderly women of the household are particularly well drawn - one could almost smell the face powder and hear the jingle of jewellery!

'Almost English' is a really good read; the storyline keeps one turning the pages, it is deeply amusing and touching by turn.
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on 21 December 2013
This book arrived in the condition that was advertised, which was a good thing. However I was disappointed with the book itself. Too long and whiny. I don't recommend it. It is such a shame because the premise had made me hopeful.
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on 16 July 2014
Very quirky but didn't really care about the characters.
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on 27 December 2016
Dull plot, annoying characters, conversations that go nowhere and nothing very much happens. I can't understand why this book made the Booker long list. I agree with everything the other one star reviewers have said, so I will leave it there.
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on 19 September 2013
Really didn't like this book although I have enjoyed all Charlotte Mendelson's previous novels. Was hugely irritated by the Hungarian pronunciation inflicted on English words - my imagination would have done this for me...Thought the various story layers were irritating rather than clever....and as for the endless pages of school life...just tedious. I am astonished this is a Booker longlist novel.
I suppose it is intended as a comedy of manners, the suffocating tightly knit old Hungarian matriarch holding a type of sway over the generations but to me it was just boring.
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on 22 November 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Marina lives in Bayswater with her mother and three elderly Hungarian aunts, feeling a bit of an outsider. At Combe Abbey, the English public school she escapes to, she's regarded as a foreigner - only half English - and she hates it even prior to things going wrong.

This is an intelligent, well-written book, with a neat, punning title, that was longlisted for the Man Booker, but didn't make it any further. I've not read anything by this author before, and with so many other books in my 'to be read' pile, probably won't again. However, I did enjoy the novel: there is humour in it and the characters are well-drawn; the relationship between young Marina and her mother is well done, and the creaking old aunts are a continual delight.
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VINE VOICEon 26 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
LOVE LOVE LOVED this book. The foreign grandmother and great aunts really made this book so much more interesting than your traditional chick lit. It was like getting a little insight into a different world. I loved how what they said was written, it made me read it in an accent! The storyline itself was quite sad but very real. Parts of it made me cringe because they had happened to me as a teenager, or I could imagine them happening to me. So close to the bone. There were parts of the book that made me want to jump into the story and sort everything out! Very moving and with characters that you can have a real affinity with. I'm going to have to read this authors earlier books too!
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on 23 March 2014
This book denotes the difficulties of a young teenager trying desperately to fit in with British society and the traditions of her Hungarian heritage. A touching story with a few laugh out loud moments.
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