By Raphael Selbourne

cover image of Beauty

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Beauty - in both name and appearance - is a twenty-year-old Bangladeshi, back in

England having disgraced her family by fleeing an abusive arranged marriage. Forced onto

the jobseeker's treadmill and under extreme domestic pressure, she cracks and runs away.

Her encounters with officialdom, fellow claimants, and strangers in the city streets,

complicated by the restrictions and comfort of her language and culture, place her at the

mercy of such unlikely helpers as Mark, a friendly, Staffordshire bull terrier-breeding exoffender,

and Peter, a middle-class underachiever on the rebound from a bitter relationship.

With determination and good humour, Beauty moves ever closer to making her choice

between family duty and personal freedom. All the while, however, her brothers are

searching for her across town. Can she make the choice herself, before she's forced to?

A sharply rendered, compassionate and challenging portrait of a fragmented, multicultural

urban England.