Eloise is too old to be called an orphan but insists she is bereft. With a cello, a car, some cats and a supply of Chicken Balti, she has devised for herself a half-alive hermitude. From her sinister country cottage she dispatches plaintive missives to the purveyors of evaporated milk and loo-roll holders. No one is too high, too powerful, to escape the fury of her attack.
George is England's only poet of ice hockey (not a full-time job). Pining for inspiration, he plays a lot of pinball and is chased around by his students. Indeed, all through the land people languish in a rage of bewilderment, undone by neighbours, the news and the heartless human tendancy to reduce the world to lists.
Fierce, funny and strange (touching on the unseen links between donkeys, fruit-labelling and ferry disasters) Lucy Ellmann's third novel reveals the stubborn nature of absurdity. Man or Mango? wanders through the darkest areas of human behaviour, and our century's history, asking how to live - and how to love.