Personality by Andrew O'Hagan
ISBN 9 780 571 219001 Published by Faber & Faber (2003)
I've just finished reading the Paisley born author's second novel 'Personality'. This is Andrew O'Hagan's follow up book to 'Our Fathers' which was mentioned elsewhere in this forum.
It is a novel about the culture of celebrity. Maria Tambini, is a thirteen year old girl growing up amidst the fading grandeur of the seaside town of Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. She lives above the chip shop of her mothers cafe. Her family is of Italian-Scottish stock, and the story sheds light on the Italians who settled in the west coast of Scotland in the 1920's and 1930's. It also tells of the resentment against the Italian community at the start of WW2 and of the internment of many of them.
Maria Tambini has a great voice and becomes a singing sensation; achieving fame and stardom at a very early age. She appears on many well known variety and light entertainment shows in the 1970's and early 1980's before disappearing due to illness.
The book is a work of fiction. However, it does have great similarities to the life and ultimate tragedy of Lena Zavaronni.
Andrew 'O'Hagan's prose style of writing is not for everyone; but like his previous novel, 'Our Fathers' I recommend this book. You can pick up a second hand copy on Amazon for a penny plus postage.
Andrew O'Hagan's first book 'The Missing' which is a work of non-fiction has now been developed into a play by the National Theatre of Scotland and had a successful run at the Tramway during the autumn of 2011.