Synopsis (from Amazon, adapted by me)
Beauty – in both name and appearance – is a twenty-year-old Bangladeshi, back in England having shocked her family by fleeing an abusive arranged marriage. Now she is forced onto the jobseekers’ treadmill.
Her fractious encounters with officialdom, fellow claimants, strangers and passers-by in the city streets, exacerbated by the restrictions (and comfort) of her language and culture, place her at the mercy of such unlikely helpers as Mark, a friendly, dog-owning ex-offender, and Peter, the middle-class underachiever on the rebound from a bitter relationship. .
WINNER OF THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD 2009
I really enjoyed this. There was a really good sense of scene and of character. I live quite near to Wolverhampton and the sense of place and people was really well built- the characters were really believable. They were imperfect too, and realistic. At first I really disliked one of the characters (I won’t say who to avoid spoilers) but ended up really liking him, I think that was Selbourne’s intention and it was done well. I think he tried to reverse it with another character, but I never really trusted that one.