House of Trelawney: Shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize For Comic Fiction
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The seat of the Trelawney family for over 700 years, Trelawney Castle was once the jewel of the Cornish coast. Each successive Earl spent with abandon, adding and extending, turning the house and grounds into a sprawling, extravagant palimpsest of wings, turrets and follies. But ...as the centuries passed the Earls of Trelawney, their senses and ambition dulled by generations of pampered living, failed to develop other skills. Now in 2008 the house - its paintings and furniture sold off to pay death duties, its grounds diminished, the gardens choked with weeds - has begun to resemble its owners: faded, crumbling, and out-of-date. A relic. A remnant. A folly. Jane, the dowdy, unhappy wife of the current Earl, Kitto, scraping a life for her children and in-laws in a few draughty rooms of the big house, is trapped by Trelawney Castle; and Blaze, Kitto's sister, making a killing in the City - and a complete turkey of her personal life - is exiled from it. Long-estranged, the two women are brought back together when a letter arrives; and soon after it, an unwelcome young guest. Grudgingly reunited by this strange turn of events, Blaze and Jane must band together to take charge of their new charge - and save the house of Trelawney. With formidable sharpness, delicious irreverence and a very wicked wit, House of Trelawney is a glorious send-up of recession Britain and its carnival of bastard bankers, down-at-heel toffs, reality TV gawkers and clipboard-wielding local planning authorities; an eccentric and radiant gem of a satire that asks how we are connected, what we owe to one another, and how to carry on existing in a world which has outgrown us.