Antigona,' I said. 'How would you feel if I wrote your life down in a book?'
'Good,' she said. 'Good. And then a feature film actually. Mini-series. Because there are a thousand women behind me in this country, having shit lives, 'scuse my language. No one can understand their lives, here.
What Is She Doing Here? is a memoir of the five years the poet Kate Clanchy spent living closely with Antigona, a Kosovan refugee. Antigona becomes her project, her protegee, her cleaner, her nanny, and slowly, through hours of conversation and negotiations of difference, her friend.
Through the story of the women's growing understanding is woven the dramatic tale of Antigona's great escape - from Milosevic, from her forced, violent marriage, and from the most traditional pastoral society in Europe - and the growing toll of her losses, as she and her rebellious teenage daughters negotiate London. Antigona's wit and vertiginous perspectives on contemporary life illuminate and transform the way the writer thinks, bringing many hard truths uncomfortably close to home.
'Kate Clanchy has written not just a heart-stopping story, but one that is essential for our times.' Anne Enright