Winner of a Betty Trask Award 2014
Leaving her tiny English village for the bright lights of London, Odeline Milk is finally going to make her dream a reality: to establish herself as a mime artist. She certainly wears the clothes for it: white collarless shirt, waistcoat, baggy black trousers, walking stick and bow tie have long been her uniform. She’s an unusual young woman.
With the inheritance left by her mother, Odeline buys her own little patch of London: an old houseboat on the canal. What she doesn’t know yet is that for some the city’s canals have an appeal of their own. They are below the eyeline, a sort of halfworld, a good place to hide for a community of curious outsiders, all with their own stories to tell - stories that might help a certain young lady to think differently about life.
As Odeline becomes enmeshed in her new community, her naivety starts to ebb away; the first thing she learns is that she doesn’t know much about life at all.
Mave Fellowes has an MA in Creative and Life Writing. Many days spent watching the water finally inspired her to write her first book, Chaplin and Company, set on and around the London waterways. Prior to this, she had several pieces of work published in Granta and various other publications.
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I really enjoyed the story, it was perfect listening while I spent a weekend unwell in bed.
It was narrated superbly by Lucy Price-Lewis..
The book ends with lots of plot lines hanging and missing background details that we still don't know about some of the characters; such as Ridley and the fate of the detainee. This is a little frustrating, I hope the second book is fast to be published. (And that the same narrator is asked to read the second book!)
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