Portrait of a Stranger
Rose Brookins, author
“How do you draw a portrait of a stranger? We’re not photographers, going around snatching things in an instant as we please. You have to look and look, and by the time you’re done looking the person is hardly a stranger anymore, are they?” CHARLIE is lost in his own life. At twenty years old, his single act of rebellion has been to convince his parents to let him go to art school. Everything else, though, is a bit of a mess. He is good at art but doesn’t know what he wants from it. He’s not at all good at having a girlfriend and he definitely doesn’t know what she wants from him. Now it's only a week until the summer holidays and he's not even begun sketching for his final assignment; instead, he's moping through central London, so distracted that he ends up shoplifting. It’s a miserable day in the making…until he meets his Stranger. PIP thinks about his Good-Looking Thief for days after they meet, daydreams tinged with wistfulness more suited to the memory of a summer long ago. But he soon lets it go. Even in his own fantasies he can't bring himself to ask for the bloke’s number because the truth is, he's no good at befriending people. Certainly not posh, artistic types with girlfriends. It’s all right. He's used to not having his way; when you live in the kind of area he does you learn to put your head down and keep going…especially when you’ve been out since you were twelve. With a light touch that does not shy away from exploring complex issues of self-discovery and desire, ‘Portrait of a Stranger’ delivers a mesmerizing story of friendship and first love. Readers will be cheering for Charlie and Pip from their first chance encounter to the final page and beyond.