Date of publication: March 2014
All the qualities that readers praised in The London Train are present in Clever Girl, Tessa Hadley's brilliant new novel. It follows the story of Stella, from her childhood as the daughter of a single mother in a Bristol bedsit in the 1960s into the mysterious shallows of her middle age. The story is full of drama - violent deaths, an abrupt end to Stella's schooldays, two sons by different fathers who aren't around to see the boys grow up - but as ever it is her observation of ordinary lives, of the way men and women think and feel and relate to one another, that dazzles. Yes, you think. This is how it is.
It always makes me sad when I read a book for a blog tour and I end up not liking it. I was looking forward to reading Clever Girl. The synopsis made it sound very interesting. But, I'm not sure the book I read was the one I was thinking I was going to get. It read like a really boring autobiography. In general, I'm not a fan of biographies in any form, so that is probably why I had a hard time connecting with this book.
It's never a good sign for me when I am easily distracted by other things when I am reading. I found myself putting this book down to do anything but read it. I got about halfway through and just didn't care enough to keep going. I couldn't relate to Stella at all. Maybe it was the time period or maybe it was Stella herself. It's hard to pick. I also was not a fan of the formatting of the book. There was none of the usual punctuation to indicate that a person was speaking. I found that made it harder for me to follow what was happening.
The book has gotten some very good feedback, so I encourage you to check out what others on the tour are saying. It just wasn't for me.
Tessa Hadley is the author of four highly praised novels: Accidents in the Home, which was long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award; Everything Will Be All Right; The Master Bedroom; and The London Train, which was a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of two short-story collections, Sunstroke and Married Love, both of which were New York Times Notable Books as well. Her stories appear regularly in the New Yorker. She lives in London.
Tessa’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, March 4th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, March 5th: BookNAround
Saturday, March 8th: Books in the Burbs
Monday, March 10th: missris
Tuesday, March 11th: Read. Write. Repeat.
Wednesday, March 12th: She’s Got Books On Her Mind
Thursday, March 13th: A Bookish Way of Life
Friday, March 14th: Write Meg
Monday, March 17th: bookchickdi
Tuesday, March 18th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, March 19th: A Novel Review
Monday, March 24th: Between the Covers
Tuesday, March 25th: Bibliotica
Thursday, March 27th: 5 Minutes For Books
Monday, March 31st: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, April 1st: A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
Wednesday, April 2nd: Sweet Tea and Lollipops
Thursday, April 3rd: The 3R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness
Friday, April 4th: A Chick Who Reads