Tristan Quinn

Learning to Love

My Cleaner

By

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In her last novel, The Flood, Maggie Gee created a futuristic vision of an apocalyptic world, re-imagining London as a sodden metropolis about to be engulfed by a tsunami. By contrast My Cleaner is set largely within the confines of a middle-class house in London, just one of many such houses ‘like lost worlds, detached from each other, buried in trees, overgrown with plants and strangled with secrets’. But in elegantly telling an apparently simple story of the changing balance of power between Vanessa Henman, a middle-aged white Englishwoman, and Mary Tendo, a black Ugandan woman who used to clean for her, Gee gradually illuminates all sorts of emotional complexity.

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