During the heatwave of 1975, Maggie, thirteen, goes to live with her grandfather, Pop, in Sutton Coldfield. Pop's mission is to know everything: the annual Fox and Dogs pub quiz is looming. Maggie doesn't know everything, but she does know about the great comedians - Ken Dodd, Tommy Cooper, Eric and Ernie - about country music, Shirley Bassie, and about how her mother died. Pop sings with the poetry of the suburbs and aches with the poignancy of adolescence. Kitty Aldridge has a wonderfully distinctive voice and a deliciously sharp eye for the extraordinariness of ordinary lives.
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(198mm x 129mm x 15mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
'She is looking up at a tall man in shambolic clothes. He is racing-dog thin with a long mischievous face, whiplashed with creases. The railway-station wind lifts his remaining hair. It is hard to say how old he is; old, seventy perhaps.' This is the first image that 13-year-old Maggie has of her grandfather - Pop - and had her mother not died suddenly she might never have seen him at all. Pop is Maggie's next of kin and from an innate sense of family loyalty he agrees to take her in over the summer until her father can be found. From the start the pair make an unlikely match - an ageing, proud man long past any true understanding of sharing his life and a gangly teenager trying to make sense of her own. Pop's world is filled with drinks at the local, walks with his dog and trying to win the annual pub quiz. It is a world completely new to Maggie, still nursing the wounds from her mother's death, but one with which she becomes inexorably linked. This is a remarkable novel, a gentle, moving story of human relationships written in such wonderful prose that it is hard to believe that this is Kitty Aldridge's debut as an author. It's difficult to pinpoint what exactly it is that becomes so intriguing about this story; while it never really wavers from everyday life in the town of Sutton Coldfield, Aldridge skilfully manages to create interest in the small town and its characters in a way that not only grabs the reader's interest but somehow manages to hang on to it. Let's hope that there will be many more novels from this incredibly talented writer. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Kitty Aldridge
Kitty Aldridge was born in the Middle East but grew up in England. A graduate of the Drama Centre, London, she has since worked in theatre, film, and television as an actress and writer. Her first novel, Pop (Cape, 2001), was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002 and shortlisted for the Pendleton May First Novel Award 2002. Her second novel, Cryers Hill, was published by Cape in 2007. Her short story, Arrivederci Les, won the Bridport Short Story Prize 2011 (Bridport Prize Anthology 2011). Her most recent novel is the critically-acclaimed A Trick I Learned From Dead Men.