RIP Chrissie Glazebrook

Awful, awful news care of the Guardian:

In recent years the comic novelist Chrissie Glazebrook, who has died

aged 62, lived in a flat in a terraced street in Forest Hall, a mixed

suburb on the northern outskirts of Newcastle upon Tyne. Despite

appearances, some of its population are among the most deprived in the

region. Chrissie was fascinated by, and richly but unsentimentally

sympathetic to, the local people, in whose lives she recognised

something of her own restricted upbringing. She loved visiting the

local shops to observe and listen, gathering material. It was in part

from this setting – Fozzy Hall – that Rowena, the rebellious heroine of

her first novel, The Madolescents (2001), emerged. Vengeful,

passionate, ignorant, innocent, hilarious, and as sharply alert as her

creator, Rowena is perhaps the richest portrait so far of the teenage

underclass – though Chrissie distrusted political categories.

I discovered THE MADOLESCENTS – how can you not love a title like that? – when I spent the summer of 2003 in London, and it promptly, easily, became one of my favorite books that year. Rowena was an astonishingly true creation, getting into all sorts of scrapes but maintaining her humanity throughout. The sequel, THE BLUE SPARK SISTERS, wasn’t quite as good, but I still hoped Rowena would come back for more adventures.

Now she won’t. Glazebrook, who was 62, died after a yearlong battle with cancer. She blogged about her last days at Shuffling Off.