The Clothes on Their Backs

The Clothes on Their Backs

Book - 2008
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In a red brick mansion block off the Marylebone Road, Vivien, a sensitive, bookish girl grows up sealed off from both past and present by her timid refugee parents. Then one morning a glamorous uncle appears, dressed in a mohair suit, with a diamond watch on his wrist and a girl in a leopard-skin hat on his arm. Why is Uncle Sándor so violently unwelcome in her parents' home?
This is a novel about survival - both banal and heroic - and a young woman who discovers the complications, even betrayals, that inevitably accompany the fierce desire to live.
Set against the backdrop of a London from the 1950s to the present day, The Clothes on Their Backs is a wise and tender novel about the clothes we choose to wear, the personalities we dress ourselves in, and about how they define us all.
Publisher: London : Virago, 2008
ISBN: 9781844085415
Branch Call Number: F Gra


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WVMLStaffPicks Oct 27, 2014

Vivian, a quiet girl, was raised by fearful, refugee parents who sheltered her from their past and her only living relative: the glamorous and infamous Uncle Sándor. She becomes entwined with her uncle and tries on personas and fashions until she finally uncovers her sense of self.

patienceandfortitude Mar 04, 2014

This was a well-written and morally complex story, about a woman whose family were Hungarian Jews who created new lives for themselves in London. Her parents create a safe and secure environment for themselves and try to protect her from the past. Her uncle wheels and deals and goes to jail as a slum lord, but winds up being a sympathetic person. Much to consider.

Jan 08, 2014

From 1950s London to the present day, this book is about the clothes we choose to wear, personalities we dress in, and how they define us.


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