REVIEW by Laura WainwrightNWR Issue 102
by Tessa Hadley
‘If I was free, if I was just me, then what was I? What could I do; what could I become?’ Tessa Hadley’s fifth novel, Clever Girl
, is an intimate and compelling account of the processes through which Stella, a young girl, growing up in Bristol in the 1960s and 70s, arrives at these questions, and how she carries them with her through the transitions and upheavals of adulthood and middle age. Cared for by her devoted and hard-working but emotionally guarded single mother and fastidious grandmother, as a child Stella finds the promise of liberty and independence in the simplest transgressions of family routine...
completed her PhD in Welsh Modernism at Cardiff University in 2010. She is a freelance writer and critic.
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