My cleaner. She does my dirty work. She knows more about me than anyone else in the world. But does she, in fact, like me? Does her presence fill me with shame?
Ugandan Mary Tendo worked for many years in the white middle-class Henman household in London, cleaning for Vanessa and looking after her only child, Justin. More than ten years after Mary has left, Justin — now twenty-two, handsome and gifted — is too depressed to get out of bed. To his mother's surprise, he asks for Mary. When Mary responds to Vanessa's cry for help and returns from Uganda to look after Justin, the balance of power in the house shifts dramatically. Both women's lives change irrevocably as tensions build towards a startling climax on a snowbound motorway.
Maggie Gee confronts racism and class conflict with humour and tenderness in this engrossing read.
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Telegram, London, 2006
13 x 20 cm
British Fiction - Class Conflict
Maggie Gee was chosen as one of Granta's original 'Best Young British Novelists'. She has published many novels to great acclaim, including The White Family, which was shortlisted for the 2002 Orange Prize for Fiction and for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2004; and The Flood, which was longlisted for the 2004 Orange Prize. She has also published My Cleaner, My Driver, The Ice People and My Animal Life with Telegram. Virginia Woolf in Manhattan is her latest novel.
Maggie was the first female Chair of the Royal Society of Literature, 2004-2008, and is now one of its Vice-Presidents. She lives in London.