Andrew O'Hagan
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ISBN 9780571195015 Format Hardback
Published 07/04/2003 Length 336 pages

About Book

Maria Tambini is a 13-year-old girl with an amazing singing voice. Growing up above her mother's chip shop on the Scottish island of Bute, living at the centre of her family's dream of fame, Maria is an extraordinary girl making ready to escape the ordinary life.

We first meet her amidst the faded grandeur of the seaside resort of Rothesay, with the Argyll hills and the Eighties in front of her, and behind her a long shadow: the secret story of her Italian-immigrant family. When Maria wins a national TV talent show she is taken to London and becomes an instant star of what used to be called light entertainment; she sings with Dean Martin and tours America, can fill the London Palladium, yet all the while 'the girl with the giant voice' is losing herself in fame and begins a private war against her own body. Maria becomes a living exhibit in the modern drama of celebrity: is it possible that she can be saved by love? Or is she to be consumed by an obsessive culture, by family lies and her number one fan?

The cast of characters is so vivid and complex that they seem to encompass within their enthralling stories a portrait of a whole society, its history and its spirit.

  • About Andrew O'Hagan

    Andrew O'Hagan is one of his generation's most exciting and most serious chroniclers of contemporary Britain. Following two previous nominations, his latest novel, The Illuminations, has been longlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize. He was voted one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in 2003. He has won the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. He lives in London.

    Photo credit: Christina Jansen

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