The short story “Loose Change” by Andrea Levy is set in London at the National Portrait Gallery. Some of the events take place in the public bathroom, others in the gallery and at the coffee shop inside the gallery. The action probably spans over an hour or so.

Physical setting

The physical setting is mostly mentioned rather than described: “I'd just gone into the National Portrait Gallery to get out of the cold.”

The narrator makes references to the paintings in the gallery or the table she is sitting at with Laylor: “Alan Bennett with his mysterious little brown bag didn't impress her at all. She preferred the photograph of Beckham. Germaine Greer made her top lip curl…; “…put her cup up to the edge of the table and swept the sugar into it with the side of her hand. The rest of the detritus that was on the tabletop fell into the tea as well.” 

There are also references to Laylor’s hometown in Uzbekistan, Tashkent, to the public square where Laylor and her brother sleep in London, and to the narrator’s home. The way the narrator thinks abou...

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