India Knight is a British journalist and a contributor to a number of magazines and newspapers, as well as a former columnist for the Observer Life section.
Protagonist Clara Hutt, wife, mother, and part-time journalist, humorously debunks the notion of married bliss and the 21st-century suburban lifestyle. A typical suburban mom with concerns about carpooling, daycare, marriage, weight, and diet, she candidly addresses those issues realistically and with a refreshing sense of humor. Clara admits that she frequently performs her morning carpool duty in pajamas, rarely wears makeup, and insults the artist she is supposed to interview for the newspaper. Jill Tanner performs an excellent reading with clear diction and a light British accent. British English is prevalent here (e.g., "nits" for "lice" and "hoovering" for "vacuuming"), yet Knight's meaning is clear. Professionally produced with no background noise or tape hiss, the program features tape and side changes conveniently timed to coincide with the story's natural breaks. This easy-to-follow tale is a light and enjoyable listening experience; highly recommended for public libraries.-Laurie Selwyn, Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Clara Hutt, 33, speaks for middle-class marital ennui as she reflects on her life, her indifferent husband, Robert, her two lice-ridden young boys, and her "roomy four-bedroomed Victorian terraced" London home and asks, "Is that it, then?" With a sense of humor that ranges from witty and raucous to simpering and mean-spirited, British first-time author Knight relates the ribald story of a modern woman and her quest for happiness. Clara, whose fragmented family consists of a mother who's fond of accumulating ex-husbands, a wealthy but distant father, two spoiled stepsisters and a listless stepbrother, resolves to have a "nuclear" family. After attaining this conventional goal, however, she discovers that marriage is more boring than blissful. The arduous rigmarole of "hoovering," chauffeuring, cooking and compromising leaves Clara unsatisfied. She tends to complain, self-deprecate and obsess on trivialities while comparing herself to her friends: Tamsin, who is single, unburdened and prowling for romance; Stella the "pottery cat," a rustic single mother who bakes her own bread; Naomi, the model housewife who feeds her kids gourmet lunches and manages to keep her home impeccably clean. Simmering with envy, longing for affection (and a little bit of "swooning"), Clara grows restless and seeks solace in the admiring eyes of an unlikely character. Although Knight's lively narrative entertains while animating many of the common misconceptions people have about marriage, the reader should be prepared to suspend belief for the final course of this chatty tale. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"a jaunty, post-feminist fairy tale..." Boston Globe
"An enormously charming, often scabrously funny first novel . . . The irrepressible Clara is also irresistible: as she deconstructs and reconstructs herself endlessly, there are insights aplenty about making do, holding on, and letting go." Kirkus Reviews "Witty and raucous . . . entertains while animating many of the common misconceptions people have about marriage." Publishers Weekly "Witty commentary on middle-class mores and humor make this . . . novel an enjoyable read." Library Journal At once realistic and hopeful." Booklist, ALA, Boxed Review "A wickedly funny and painfully honest comic novel. It comforts those of us who have experienced the misery of marital desertion and an infestation of headlice. It's a triumph. I intend to buy it for everybody I love."--Sue Townsend, author of The Adrian Mole Diaries "Well-written, neatly constructed and . . . funny . . . Like her creator, Clara has a talent for seeing the farcically tragic in all that surrounds her."--The Guardian (UK) "Disturbingly funny . . . India Knight has a gritty understanding of the games married people play. This witty writer has written a snappy account of modern marriage with an underlying seriousness." --Sunday Times (UK) "India Knight's wildly funny survey of women's lives will leave you nodding in recognition and laughing out loud. Picture Nora Ephron (of Heartburn) meeting Nora Helmer (of Ibsen's A Doll's House) for cake, coffee, and fireworks. Delicious." --Regina Barreca, author of Perfect Husbands (and Other Fairy Tales) "Sharp, witty . . . Knight's novel is groundbreaking in current fiction in that it attempts to investigate modern marriage: what it does to women, their sex drive and their sense of self." Marie Claire (UK) "Knight's funny, assured portrait . . . combines chick lit with journalistic lifestyle-ese (and the power of YSL's Touch Eclat)."--Independent (UK) "So vigorous, funny and opinionated . . . Not only full of brilliantly funny and knowing sentences, but of heroically ghastly characters too." Evening Standard (UK) "India Knight dishes us a helping of humour and heartache on the condition of the modern Mrs." Elle (UK) "This novel makes a refreshing change from the 'single girl seeks man with increasing desperation' theme . . . The style is zappy and witty, with clever and perceptive dialogue...Clara is such a riotously outspoken and unpretentious heroine that you cannot help loving her."--The Bookseller (UK) "A comic tour de force."--Telegraph