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Lee Langley Biography

(1940?– ), Changes of Address, The Only Girl, From the Broken Tree, The Dying Art

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Knole Kent to Mary Lavin Biography

British novelist of Scottish descent, born in Calcutta. She spent her childhood travelling widely in India, an experience that shapes some of her best fiction, such as the autobiographical Changes of Address (1987), which analyses the relationship of a daughter with her volatile, alcoholic mother. Langley began her career as a novelist in 1973 with the publication of The Only Girl and later published From the Broken Tree (1979) and The Dying Art (1983). She made her mark as a novelist with the Indian trilogy initiated by Changes of Address. The second volume, Persistent Rumours (1992), is set, both in the past and in the present day, in the Andaman Islands, an old British penal colony; it comments on British colonialism and middle-class values. A House in Pondicherry (1995), which completes the trilogy, is narrated mostly from the perspective of Oriane, who combines French origins with a (suppressed) Indian heritage, and explores several generations and historical aspects of life in French India. Taken together, the novels provide a valuable account, with telling psychological insights, of the clash and the blend of European and Indian world-views and sensibilities.

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