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The Clothes On Their Backs

Linda Grant

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

Re-issued to co-incide with the release of WE HAD IT SO GOOD.

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.

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Praise for The Clothes On Their Backs

  • The Clothes on Their Backs reflects on the human capacity for survival and renewal, on intractable differences and the shocking ease with which some individuals resort to violence. - Adelaide Advertiser

  • Grant has written a compelling story, and she evokes the 1930s through to the 1970s extremely well, balancing an immediacy that is almost olfactory with a nostalgia that works like a faded Kodak print.' - The Age

  • She skilfully stitches together a story about morality, identity and belonging with a captivating plot. The clothes are splendid minor characters. - Hobart Mercury

  • Graphically set in 1970s London, and immersed in the business of private history, this is a highly readable book Grant is a talented storyteller who has something serious to say - The Weekend Australian

  • Spanning the 1950s to the present day, this is a chronicle not only of a family but also of London s social fabric, an expanding patchwork of displaced communities and racial, political and religious tensions. - Good Reading

  • Grant s seamless style illustrates the complexities of identity and empowerment. - The Big Issue

  • Grant writes of with an observant and sympathetic eye. - Sun-Herald

  • characters, who are each so complex and beautifully vivid that they could command novels all of their own - Time Out Sydney

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Linda Grant

Linda Grant is author of five non-fiction books and seven novels. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage in 2006. The Clothes on Their Backs was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008 and went on to win the South Bank Show Award. The Dark Circle was shortlisted for the 2017 Women's Prize for Fiction. Her latest novel, A Stranger City, was published in 2019. Linda Grant lives in London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and holds honorary doctorates from the University of York and John Moores University.

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