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BBC Radio 3 - 10 May 2020 - Private Passions Andrew O'Hagan
In a moving and personal interview the novelist and journalist Andrew O’Hagan talks to Michael Berkeley about his family and the music that inspires his writing.
Author: Andrew O'Hagan
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Paperback: 1 April 2004
ISBN: 0571217753 / 978-0571217755

Maria Tambini is a thirteen-year-old girl with a great singing voice. Growing up on a small Scottish island, she is ready for the big time and keen to escape her ordinary life.

When she wins a national TV talent show, she becomes an instant star, yet all the time 'the girl with the giant voice' is losing herself in fame and in a private battle with her own body.

Can Maria be saved by love or is she destined to be consumed by celebrity, by family secrets, and by her number one fan?

  • Sunday Times: An enormously impressive, frequently curious and consistently ambitious novel.

  • Guardian: Personality plucks a wealth of literary art . . . What he manages brilliantly is allowing us only restricted access to Maria's mind, so that the reader is put in something like the same relation to her as the sharkish agents and managers who suck her dry.'

  • New York Review of Books: There is boldness and beauty in this finely wrought merging of mythical epic, historical resonance and contemporary detail, and it is emblematic of O'Hagan's wider ambition . . . Few young novelists would have the nerve to undertake such a task and fewer still could accomplish it with such command, such grace, and such compassion.