Nina Bawden - Ruffian On The Stair - Little, Brown Book Group
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    • ISBN:9780748127542
    • Publication date:17 Feb 2011
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Ruffian On The Stair

By Nina Bawden

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  • £9.99

From this well-loved author comes a novel that is 'an upper- middle-class version of Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies' ( Independent on Sunday), full of intrigues, betrayals and family secrets.

In six days Silas Mudd will be one hundred years old and is alarmingly healthy - more than can be said of his son. 'Not sure he'll make old bones' he confides loudly to his daughter-in-law. Grumpily flattered by the fuss over his impending party - even from his irritating family, Silas' greater pleasure is 'to go over his life' and the women whom he loved and who made trouble for him: his sterling and capable Aunt; his wonderfully vulgar second wife Bella; Molly, a music-hall singing sister; and Effie, his first and hopeless wife. Silas is the only one left who knows exactly what is shoring up his family. And now he sits, waiting and thinking, just wondering what it would be like if he were to say ...

Biographical Notes

Nina Bawden, CBE, is one of Britain's most distinguished and best-loved novelists. She has published over forty novels and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Circles of Deceit. In 2004 she received the PEN Award for a Lifetime's Service to Literature.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781844083800
  • Publication date: 02 Nov 2006
  • Page count: 240
Her great talent is to be able to take you along a perfectly ordinary street, rip the fa?ade away and show the strange and passionate events that go on behind closed doors — DAILY TELEGRAPH
It is a measure of Bawden's skill, that she manages to show both the terrors of extreme longevity and its comic potential. But then she is a wonderfully accomplished writer and this is a very enjoyable book. — THE TIMES
An upper-middle class version of Mike Leigh's SECRETS AND LIES. — INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Bawden has a penetraing eye for both the insalubrious and gorgeous detail, homing in with language that is always crisp and precise. — GUARDIAN
Virago

Devil By The Sea

Nina Bawden
Virago

The Ice House

Nina Bawden

At fifteen, Daisy, confident and cherished, is appalled to hear that Ruth's father locked her in the old garden ice house as a childhood punishment: no wonder her friend shelters in make believe. The revelation of that primitive cruelty cements a friendship in which protection plays no small part. Years later, middle aged, they remain close friends and live on the same street. So when Daisy's husband dies suddenly, Ruth's discovery that the marriage was unhappy is the first stage in the unravelling of the certainties she has wrapped around her adult life.Friendship, love, marriage and, above all, the scorching effects of adultery, come under the microscope in this dextrous novel. Journeying from a terrifying suburban household to its unexpected conclusion in the Egyptian Pharaoh's tombs, The Ice House is startling, tragic and humorous by turns.

Virago

Devil By The Sea

The first time the children saw the Devil, he was sitting next to them in the second row of deckchairs in the bandstand. He was biting his nails.'So begins the horrifying story of a madman loose in a small seaside town- his prey the very young and the very old. Seen through the eyes of Hilary- a precocious, highly imaginative, lonely child- it is a chilling story about the perceptiveness of children, the blindness of parents and the allure of strangers. As the adults carry on with their own grown-up capers, Hilary is led further and further into the twilight world of one man's terrifyingly warped view of normal life. But will she have the sense to resist it?

Virago

Circles Of Deceit

Nina Bawden
Virago

A Grain Of Truth

Nina Bawden
Virago

Dear Austen

Accidents happen to other people. But on On May 10th 2002, Nina Bawden discovered what it feels like to be one of the 'other people'. It was to be a lovely outing to Cambridge for a friend's birthday party. Nina Bawden and her husband Austen Kark boarded the 12:45 from Kings Cross and settled down with their books and papers. A few minutes later the train derailed. Seven people were killed and 76 badly hurt. Nina Bawden was gravely injured and Austen was killed instantly. In this powerful and poignant letter to her husband, Nina Bawden uses her considerable writing skills to try and make sense of it all. She explains how she - now in her late 70s - found herself the outspoken spokesperson for the survivors of the crash, interviewed here and abroad and even one of the characters portrayed in David Hare's The Permanent Way. Although liability has finally been admitted, as of October 2004, there has been no resolution to this tragedy, nor a public enquiry into how it happened.

Virago

A Grain Of Truth

Emma's anxious and manipulative plea, 'Someone listen to me', opens- and closes- this deliciously uncomfortable novel in which Nina Bawden explores myriad emotional disguises with her characteristic acuity. When Emma's father-in-law falls down the stairs to his death, she is convinced she pushed him in an act of wish-fulfilment. To her husband Henry and her close friend Holly, this is unthinkable. Guilt is simply Emma's obsession in a humdrum domestic existence enlivened by romantic fantasy. For Holly, who successfully fields a string of love affairs, sexual pleasures are more easily attainable, whereas Henry, a Divorce lawyer, prides himself on being a realist. Each tells their story in turn, illuminating and distorting their separate versions of the truth. As they do so, an intricate jigsaw of the private deceits with which they shore up everyday life emerges.

Virago

Family Money

Nina Bawden
Virago

A Little Love, A Little Learning

Nina Bawden

By the author of 'Circles of Deceit' and 'Tortoise by Candlelight', this novel shows the fragility of a family's equilibrium. Three children live with their mother and are happy in the love of their stepfather. The arrival of an aunt and the adolescent worries of the girls sets up tensions.

Virago

Anna Apparent

Nina Bawden

Who is Anna? Is she Anna-May Gates, the war-time evacuee who encounters neglect and unwitting abuse on a Welsh farm? The reticent, dutiful daughter of her foster-mother, Crystal? Giles's shy child-bride? Conscientious mother and housewife? Or Daniel's undemanding but sophisticated mistress? It takes catastrophe for Anna to emerge as an individual, claiming her own identity. Nina Bawden, as ever both acute and generous, delves skilfully into character and offers the richly textured story of a woman's life and stratagems, and of the flawed, kindly people who surround her.

Virago

Walking Naked

Nina Bawden

Nina Bawden

Nina Bawden, CBE, is one of Britain's most distinguished and best-loved novelists. She has published over forty novels and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Circles of Deceit. In 2004 she received the PEN Award for a Lifetime's Service to Literature.

Virago

Afternoon Of A Good Woman

Nina Bawden
Virago

Familiar Passions

Nina Bawden

After an expensive dinner on their thirteenth wedding anniversary, James calmly announces that he wishes to leave Bridie. A cherished adopted child, she stepped into marriage - and a pet name - at the age of nineteen and has nurtured two step-children and a daughter. The habit of protecting others is strong is Bridie but now, redundant and with her happiness turned into a charade, she is uncertain of her identity. Unless she reclaims a portion of her past, Bridie fears she will have no future. The mysteries and consequences of Bridie's adoption form the bedrock of this enticing and skilfully woven novel. Here, with her characteristic wit and acuity, Nina Bawden peers into the familiar passions of family life, remembered insults, ancient scars and old deceptions.

Virago

George Beneath A Paper Moon

Nina Bawden

George is an unusually successful travel agent, providing other people with the adventures he dare not risk. Though content to wrap himself in fantasies, he is haunted by the fact that 'the important things happened whilst his back was turned' and by the belief that he fathered the daughter- now a desirable young woman- of his best friends, Sam and Claire. To avoid temptation, George stumbles into a disastrous marriage and determines to mould himself into a supportive husband. But a holiday in Turkey snaps his private world when George finds himself in the midst of intrigue and murder and is forced to acknowledge that life is not the fairy-tale he'd imagined. In this superbly constructed and mercilessly observed novel, part comedy, part thriller, Nina Bawden exposes the fictions we impose on our lives.

Virago

A Nice Change

Nina Bawden
Virago

Tortoise By Candlelight

Nina Bawden
Virago

A Woman Of My Age

Nina Bawden

Elizabeth and Richard, 18 years married, have come to Morocco on holiday. As the adventures and disasters of their travels unfold, so too does Elizabeth's account of the desert her life has become. The author's book Circles of Deceit was shortlisted for the 1987 Booker Prize.

Virago

A Woman Of My Age

Nina Bawden

Elizabeth and Richard are on holiday in Morocco, travelling from its fertile coast to the barren uplands beyond the Atlas mountains. During the expedition's adventures and mishaps, Elizabeth surveys her eighteen-year marriage and its accumulations of grievance, frustration and betrayal. Nina Bawden allows us to see the ambivalences and deceptions on both sides as this touching and often subversively comic novel moves towards a shocking catastrophe and a wryly surprising coda.

Virago

The Birds On The Trees

Nina Bawden

The expulsion from school of their eldest son shatters the middle-class secutiry of Maggie, a writer, and Charlie, a journalist. Since childhood, Toby has been diffident and self-absorbed, but the threat of drug taking and his refusal (or inability) to discuss his evident unhappiness, disturbs them sufficiently to seek professional help. Veering between private agony and public cheerfulness, Maggie and Charlie struggle to support their son and cope with the reactions- and advice- of friends and relatives. Noted for the acuity with which she reaches into the heart of relationships, Nina Bawden here excels in revealing the painful, intimate truths of a family in crisis. Toby's situation is explored with great tenderness, while Maggie's grief and self-recrimination are rigorously, if compassionately, observed. It is a novel that raises fundamental questions about parents and their children, and offers tentative hope but no tidy solutions.