A remarkable walk along the cliff edge of life

by Michele Kirsch

Clean by Michele Kirsch

  • Published: 06 Aug 2020
  • Price: 8.99
  • Extent: 288p
  • ISBN: 9781780724904
  • Short Books territories:
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WINNER of Royal Society of Literature Christopher Bland Prize 2020


When Michele Kirsch’s father is killed in a train crash, her mother gets the vapours and Michele gets extremely nervous. By her mid-
teens, she has found salvation in valium. Her favourite words on the prescription sheet are “Take As Needed”, which she interprets as Take All The Time.

Later, as a wife and mother, she adds alcohol into the mix, and before long her life is spinning out of control. Leaving home “for the sake of the family”, she takes the scenic route to rehab, redemption and reinvention.

But this is no misery memoir. Clean is a darkly comic tale about the difficult choices we have to make as we navigate our lives. While working as a domestic cleaner in her 50s, Michele finds herself living vicariously through other people’s messes, tidying her way through early sobriety. As the Duster of Large Things, she taps into her natural nosiness to reveal the absurdities of a seemingly banal job.

“'Hilarious, totally compelling and impossible to put down.' ”
Andrew Lycett
“'Beautifully crafted and written... compelling'”
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
“'A searing and often painfully funny story'”
Cass Green

About Michele Kirsch

Michele KirschMichele Kirsch is a 59-year-old writer and cook living in East London. She has worked as a teacher, a press officer, a journalist, a glass washer, a house cleaner and a cook – in that order. Her first book, Clean, was winner of the RSL Christopher Bland Prize 2020, Book of the Week in the Daily Mail and The Lady, and Book of The Month in Psychologies.