Culture Street

By Sophia Whitfield
This fabulous debut is about loneliness; the all too familiar feeling no one really talks about. Despite its sad subject matter this lyrical book is uproariously funny.

Eleanor Oliphant leads an ordinary life. She wears the same comfortable clothes to work every day and has had the same office menial job for ten years. She keeps to herself never socialising with her work colleagues.

On the weekends she goes home and drinks two bottles of vodka. From the time she leaves work on Friday night to the time she starts work on Monday morning she sees no one.

Her life is ordered and simple until one day a freak accident throws her in the way of a new acquaintance. She finds herself embraced by a new family and after years of isolation is faced with the daunting prospect of having to socialise. The description of her shopping for appropriate clothing for her outings are hilarious, and her trip to the hair salon where she thanks Laura for making her ‘shiny’ is both tragic and delightful.

Every character feels real but it is Eleanor who shines with all her quirks and idiosyncrasies. Her constant assessment of the world around her is childlike and delightful in its honesty.

Definitely a book to put on your list. Buy the book in Australia here and in the UK here.

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