Man At the Helm

£8.99

Lizzie is concerned about her newly divorcée mother – thirty-one years old, with three young children and a Labrador in a hostile village in the English countryside. It isn’t that having a husband is good, but in 1970s rural Leicestershire, not having one is bad. The women in the village think Lizzie’s mother is after their husbands while no one will let the children into the Brownies. And so Lizzie and her sister embark on a misguided campaign to find a new ‘Man at the Helm’.

Avalilable

Description

Man at the Helm, the debut novel from Nina Stibbe – the much-loved author of Love, Nina – is a wildly comic, brilliantly sharp-eyed novel about the horrors of being an attractive divorcée in an English village in the 1970s, and a family’s fall from grace . . .

My sister and I and our little brother were born (in that order) into a very good situation and apart from the odd new thing life was humdrum and comfortable until an evening in 1970 when my mother listened in to my father’s phone call and ended up blowing her nose on a tea towel – a thing she’d only have done in an absolute emergency.

Not long after her parents’ separation, heralded by an awkward scene involving a wet Daily Telegraph and a pan of cold eggs, nine-year-old Lizzie Vogel, her sister and little brother and their now divorcée mother are packed off to a small, slightly hostile village in the English countryside. Their mother is all alone, only thirty-one years of age, with three young children and a Labrador. It is no wonder, when you put it like that, that she becomes a menace and a drunk. And a playwright.

Worried about the bad playwriting – though more about becoming wards of court and being sent to the infamous Crescent Home for Children – Lizzie and her sister decide to contact, by letter, suitable men in the area. In order to stave off the local social worker they urgently need to find a new Man at the Helm.

‘All hail a book that’s funny!’ Barbara Trapido

[A] joyous read, full of wit and charm . . . I am already longing for Nina Stibbe’s next bookObserver

‘Nine-year-old Lizzie (our narrator) is the perfect conduit for her creator, just the right mixture of childhood innocence and incredulity for the necessary deadpan delivery of Stibbe’s particular brand of comedy. Read it and be charmedIndependent

A beguilingly comic blend of naivety and precociousnessSunday Times

Additional information

Weight 0.225 kg
Dimensions 19.8 × 12.9 × 1.9 cm
Author

Publisher

Imprint

Cover

Paperback

Pages

310

Language

English

Edition

1st paperback ed

Dewey

823.92 (edition:23)

Readership

General – Trade / Code: K

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