Good review of ‘The Mistress of Nothing’ in Metro newspaper

22 July 2009 in The Mistress of Nothing

Nice review in Metro newspaper today, by Tina Jackson -

“Fans of Kate Pullinger’s unsettling takes on the shadowy aspects of contemporary female life need not worry that she’s lost her perceptive edge in her first foray into historical fiction.

Based on a true story, this is a reconstruction of the mistress-servant relationship between famed Victorian traveller Lucie Duff Gordon and her maid.

Their life in Egypt turns from orientalist idyll, involving hitherto unexperienced freedoms for both the women,  into a bitter, brutal assertion of who is in charge.

Narrated with straightforward intimacy by the prosaically named Sally Naldrett, it describes both women’s relationship with the servant on whom they depend for their survival, Omar Abu Halaweh.

Pullinger is equally unerring at conveying the subtle cruelties of power relationships and the incremental dawnings of love and affection.

Coupled with this is an almost painterly ability to depict an Egypt alternately parched and sumptuous ?? both literally and metaphorically.”


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