Tea & Antipathy: An American Family in Swinging London

Overview

Tea & Antipathy is a delightfully hilarious and true account of one American family?s summer in the posh London neighborhood of Knightsbridge in 1965. Capturing the helpless feeling that living in a foreign city often brings, the book recounts how the Millers met a wide variety of memorable characters from all social classes, including Mrs. Grail the Irish cleaning woman, who was convinced that their home was haunted and who hated the English; Basil Goldbrick, a businessman from Manchester; and Basil?s clever...

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Tea & Antipathy: An American Family in Swinging London

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Overview

Tea & Antipathy is a delightfully hilarious and true account of one American family’s summer in the posh London neighborhood of Knightsbridge in 1965. Capturing the helpless feeling that living in a foreign city often brings, the book recounts how the Millers met a wide variety of memorable characters from all social classes, including Mrs. Grail the Irish cleaning woman, who was convinced that their home was haunted and who hated the English; Basil Goldbrick, a businessman from Manchester; and Basil’s clever wife Daisy, who resented Americans. Told in a gently sardonic tone, this story provides insight on what London was like during the Swinging Sixties and what it was like to uproot a family for an adventurous summer abroad.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An entertaining book that will be enjoyed by anyone who has ever had a vacation go awry." —Library Journal
Library Journal
01/01/2015
In the summer of 1965, Miller (Uncollecting Cheever), a lifelong Anglophile, took her three young sons to join her husband for a summer in London. Buoyed by happy memories of a previous visit (without the children) and thoughts of Jane Austen and country lanes, Miller declares to her children, "It's going to be fun!" Reality unfolds somewhat differently. Miller remains determined to maintain a positive outlook in the face of their crumbling, moldy rental; an epically unhelpful landlady, a nonfunctional kitchen, unfamiliar food, and the rainiest summer in London in years. Her oldest son is stunned at the open distaste the English express for Americans; her youngest son develops a deep-seated fear of wax figures and begins sucking his thumb. Miller scrambles to keep the boys occupied while her husband struggles to keep his business afloat. She tells the tale with humor and perseverance, but by the end, when Miller decides to take the younger boys home two weeks early, the reader is as relieved as she. VERDICT An entertaining book that will be enjoyed by anyone who has ever had a vacation go awry.—Rachel Owens, Daytona State Coll. Lib., FL
Kirkus Reviews
2014-10-15
An American family discovers there's no cure for Anglophilia like living in London.This slight comic memoir oversells its premise, as the 1960s England recounted by Academy Chicago president and editorial director Miller (Uncollecting Cheever: The Family of John Cheever vs. Academy Chicago Publishers, 1998, etc.) is far from swinging. The story is set in 1965, but Beatlemania and Carnaby Street are at the periphery; at the forefront is a drab, provincial, day-to-day London that seems permanently stuck in the past. When her husband, Jordan, moved her and their his wife and three children to London—in hopes of salvaging what was left of the British branch of his business—Miller, with a freshly minted degree in English literature, looked forward to soaking up centuries of literary culture. Instead, life in this new old world became a series of daily torments. The landlady of their rented town house left the place in poor repair; sheets and cookware were missing, and bathroom leaks and clogs became all too apparent. The city rubbed the family the wrong way; service personnel arrived at the worst time or not at all, store and restaurant staffers were indifferent to customers, and minor requests transformed into major ordeals. The locals were boors who fetishize the queen and lecture Americans on their shortcomings. "We're five hundred years ahead of you, you see," explains one new acquaintance. "We've had more time to become civilized." The book is at its funniest when Miller lets comic events speak for themselves, but the wit is often forced. The author's memories aren't so much interesting in themselves as they are buoyed by her pseudo-drollery. "[T]he English, they'll do you every time," says the family's Irish cleaning lady, which is funnier the first time she says it than the tenth. A book of modest charms just short enough not to outstay its welcome.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780897337434
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporate
  • Publication date: 1/1/2015
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 779,909
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Anita Miller is editorial director of Academy Chicago Publishers, Ltd, which she founded with her husband in 1975. She has written, coauthored, or edited more than 75 books. She lives in Glencoe, Illinois.

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