The Language of Others, By Clare Morrall
Sunday 30 November 2008
Jessica Fontaine, this novel's narrator, has had an unusual background, with a mother who drifted about their white elephant of a manor house, ignoring her daughter's eccentricities. Now she leads a remarkably conventional adult life. Except, that is, for her terrible marriage, and a curious inability to relate to others, a quality shared by her son, Joel, but not, mysteriously, by her sisters.
It turns out that she has Asperger syndrome, mild enough not to be diagnosed until she is 40, but severe enough to hamper not only her dealings with others but, more importantly, her judgement of them.
Her husband, Andrew, is a horrible creature, whose Olympian insensitivity of spirit the author highlights by giving him a kind of fetid eloquence ("Can you type a letter to Mrs Flannel-face, Fungus-infested Forster?"). Her achievement in making even this miserable ruin of spite and cynicism somehow appealing is one of the finest things in this very fine book.
Arts & Ents blogs
St Patrick’s Day 2014: The worst Irish accents in film history
Under The Skin, film review: Scarlett Johansson is full-blooded as femme fatale alien
Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your scrolling
Game of Thrones star Sibel Kekilli wants more male nudity in the show
Disney's Frozen is 'very evil' gay propaganda, says Christian pastor
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
- 3 Nemanja Matic interview: My family were in tears when we left Lisbon
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Jet ‘hijacking’ began soon after take-off
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Facebook links are profiting hackers