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Happy Accidents - Book of the Month

by Tiffany Murray

Kate Happy lives with her grandparents on Happy Farm, Hereford, on the Welsh border. Her grandmother is a fabulous big personality - Jewish and from Coney Island - seemingly hijacked by Kate's grandfather in happier times. Grandfather was a war casualty and his bonkers habits include a fetish for newspaper clippings and barking naval orders at anyone who might hear.

Through the course of the book, Kate learns more of her history, including the true story of the death of her father who was run over by her mother Marlene (in a Triumph Spitfire). Marlene is portrayed as a horrendous nymphomaniac whose parenting is both negligent and destructive. But as the revelations of the turbulent past continue they help Kate to make sense of her own situation and emerging sexuality.

This is a very funny novel and a very enthusiastic and endearing portrait of an unconventional life among the strangest of families. Mother-daughter relationships and other serious issues are dealt with in a surreal landscape peopled by bizarre characters. The effect is both poignant and ridiculous and we cannot help but like Kate Happy, who is determined to survive and find humour in her situation.

Happy Accidents is a fantastic first novel by a very promising young writer.

Read our interview with Tiffany Murray.

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