12,557 book reviews and counting...

Dishing the Dirt Reviews

Dishing the Dirt by Nick Duerden

Dishing the Dirt

The Hidden Lives of House Cleaners

Nick Duerden

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Canbury Press
Publisher: Canbury Press
Publication date: 17 Sep 2020
ISBN: 9781912454464

Many Britons employ a cleaner. Once an upper class luxury, domestic help is now a middle class necessity. Yet, what do we really know of the incomers who toil behind closed doors? What is their story? And how do they see us?

  • The BooksellerEditor's Choice
4 stars out of 5
Caroline Sanderson
6 Mar 2020

"My admiration for my own total star of a cleaner (namecheck: Jenny) was further magnified after reading this jaw-dropping investigation"

My admiration for my own total star of a cleaner (namecheck: Jenny) was further magnified after reading this jaw-dropping investigation. Most of those we hear from are immigrants who came in search of a better life but now clean out of necessity: for example Yuliya from Bulgaria who has built up her cleaning business from nothing; Amirah, the Indonesian women trafficked into domestic slavery; and “gay-friendly” cleaner Felipe from Colombia. “They hold the key to our real identities, to the people we really are, behind closed doors,” writes Duerden. Now 17th September 2020.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
15 Oct 2020

"An entrepreneur, an exploited migrant, a mother who feels liberated ironing naked … meet the cleaners who work in households across London"

Dishing the Dirt is not a deeply researched tract, nor a tub-thumping polemic about precarious employment. Instead, driving Duerden’s inquiry is a fascination for the complex interior lives of people who usually play an off-stage role in our personal dramas. Despite the size of the industry, with perhaps as many as one in three UK households employing a cleaner, the realities of waged domestic labour are little known beyond those who actually do it. Duerden offers the people who vacuum carpets a chance to speak freely and at length about their hopes and dreams, anxieties and disappointments. It is less an exercise in titillating gossip than a study in what makes all of us painfully human.