Elizabeth Webster is a sixty-nine year old retired school teacher. She is a tough, old bird: spiky, cynical and adamantly independent; a woman, who has never married, has no friends and lost touch with all her family. In Little Blessington, the village she lives in, the Miss Marple-like figure is regarded as something of a local oddity. Then one day a beautiful young Moroccan knocks at her door. Cherif’s mother befriended Miss Webster on her holiday to Morocco, and now the young man is here to begin university in the town nearby. Before she knows it, Miss Webster finds herself with an unexpected lodger. The two could not be more different: the gentle, shy, well mannered young man, bewildered by this strange, new world; and the sharp-tongued old spinster who guides him through its maze. Yet little by little, they become friends. But the villagers of Little Blessington are suspicious. Cherif is too handsome, too young and he’s Arab. No good can come of this. Miss Webster, and Cherif tells the oldest of stories – an unlikely friendship, the prejudices of a small, rural community, the arrival of a foreigner – but in a new, post 9/11, world. Patricia Duncker is one of Britain’s finest novelists and she is on top of her form. This is an entertaining, clever, provocative book, full of surprises, nuance and humour.
20 × 13 × 2.5 cm