Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013 and the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2014
'I adored Almost English' Nigella Lawson
'I read and ADORED Almost English . . . And now I will read everything she's ever written' Marian Keyes
Home is a foreign country: they do things differently there . . .
In a tiny flat in West London, sixteen-year-old Marina lives with her emotionally delicate mother, Laura, and three ancient Hungarian relatives. Imprisoned by her family's crushing expectations and their fierce unEnglish pride, by their strange traditions and stranger foods, she knows she must escape. But the place she runs to makes her feel even more of an outsider.
At Combe Abbey, a traditional English public school for which her family have sacrificed everything, she realises she has made a terrible mistake. She is the awkward half-foreign girl who doesn't know how to fit in, flirt or even be. And as a semi-Hungarian Londoner, who is she? In the meantime, her mother Laura, an alien in this strange universe, has her own painful secrets to deal with, especially the return of the last man she'd expect back in her life. She isn't noticing that, at Combe Abbey, things are starting to go terribly wrong.
‘Charlotte Mendelson is much admired by the cognoscenti and Almost English ought to be a bestseller. The account of a girl from a family of Hungarian aunts, dealing with love and old lechers at a ghastly boarding school in the 1980s, is sheer bliss — pure rueful comedy with endless resourcefulness . . . I adore her novels and wish there were many more of them’ Philip Hensher, Spectator
‘Mendelson’s keen eye for what makes relationships tick has already led to a place on the shortlist for the Women’s (formerly Orange) Prize and new novel Almost English is as good as we’d hoped . . . This funny, wise and heart-warming 1980s-set novel is perfect summer reading’ Elle
‘Charlotte Mendelson’s fourth novel is a deliciously funny tale of dysfunctional families. The Farkases recall characters from fairy tales or Roald Dahl: an all-female household comprising three pensioners, an abandoned wife and a teenage girl squeezed into a tiny flat “in the barely respectable depths of Bayswater”. Reading Mendelson’s easy, assured prose is like sinking into something soft and velvety’ Telegraph Top 10 Summer Holiday Reads