This is the first book devoted to the lives of au pairs, their leisure as well as their work time. We see this world from the eyes of the visitors, and their unique perspective on what lies at the heart of our family life. The book does not flinch from documenting the realities of the situation Ð the racism and the problematic behaviour of the au pairs themselves, as much as the ignorance and exploitation they can be subject to. The book is a case study in how to come to feel modern life empathetically from the viewpoint of one of those many migrant groups we take for granted and rely on but rarely try to understand.
1 Why Not? 5
2 An Embarrassing Presence 32
3 The Hard Work and the Soft Touch 60
4 Sort of English 87
5 Bored in Beddlingham 114
6 Men 137
7 Out of Time 156
8 Conclusion: Structure, Behaviour and Consequence 171
Appendix: Academic Studies of Domestic Labour 184
Zuzana Burikova Professor of Material Culture, University College, London; Institute of Ethnology, Slovakia.