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Personality

by Andrew O'Hagan

At the age of thirteen Maria Tambini already has a big voice. She wins a TV talent competition and leaves her small Scottish island for London and a full diary of television and stage work. Loosely based on the life of Lena Zavaroni, Personality includes real people such as Hughie Green and Les Dawson. This is a tale of pushy parents and grasping agents but O'Hagan also offers an insight into the fate of Italians living in Britain when World War Two began. You will care more for Maria as the book progresses and O'Hagan departs from the Zavaroni story. Will she be saved by love or destroyed by fame?

Extract

She reached forward with a finger and touched the cold glass of a milk bottle. There was a plate with butter on it; she drew two fingers over the top and brought them to her mouth. She tasted the salt and then leaned back on her hands, looking at the chicken and lettuces and tins of peas that were stored in the fridge for no good reason. She took out a cold egg and licked the shell.

The light from the open fridge was fantastic. Maria spoke a few words to the audience under her breath.

Parallels

Our Fathers by Andrew O'Hagan
Swimmer by Bill Broady
 

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