Meeting the English

Meeting the English by Kate Clanchy




Being alive was the bastard. Being alive was the pits. When you were alive, you just had to close your eyes and hope you’d wake up dead.

This book was incredibly English in tone. It was a bit hard to plow through but plow through it I did.

This was a book about the dysfunctional family. Cast of Characters: Phillip (father, playwright, recent stroke victim), Shirin (Phillips young Iranian wife),  Myfanwy (Phillips ex wife and housekeeper), Jake (Phillips degenerate cocaine addled son), Juliet (Phillips fat obsessed, body image issued daughter) and Struan  (the young Scottish man hired to care for Phillip.) The year is 1989 and the stage is set.

It was unique in a way that described the family dynamic. Each character had a role and a plot and it all intermingled and set the tone of the story. The overall plot: The Pyr’s hire Struan to care for Phillip and being a Scottish boy in England for the first time, learns about the dysfunctional family syndrome. It really did read like a play in bits.

I really couldn’t grasp the tone or launguage of the book but the plot was subtle enough to keep me going. It was a chore until the last third of the book, in which I was quite relieved to be done with it. The ending was a bit abrupt and I felt the characters lost themselves along the way.

It was good in its own right but not one I’m likely to revisit anytime soon.


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