By Beryl Bainbridge
Beryl Bainbridge's classic early novel weaves a dark, clever tale of a young woman in thrall to a golden stranger in 1960s London.
'People came in and out, chairs were moved, dishes gathered up on trays, but it was happening at a great distance; she concentrated entirely on his pink face crowned with foppish curls.'
Genteel, passive Ann works for the BBC in London and is engaged to a successful academic, fulfilling her snobbish mother's ambitions - more or less - while the Swinging Sixties happen elsewhere, to other people. Then she meets William: snub-nosed and generous, cunning and protean. She is first seduced, then transfixed, as William's past, present and future swirl around her kaleidoscopically, overwhelmingly, and Ann is herself irrevocably, and irreparably, changed.
Beryl Bainbridge (1932-2010) wrote eighteen novels, two travel books and five plays for stage and television. Five of her novels were shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Every Man for Himself and Injury Time won the Whitbread Prize, The Bottle Factory Outing won the Guardian Fiction Prize and Master Georgie won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Four of her novels including An Awfully Big Adventure were adapted for film. In 2011, Bainbridge was honoured posthumously with a special Best of Beryl Man Booker Prize in recognition of her outstanding career. Her final novel, The Girl in the Polka-dot Dress, was published in 2011.
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- Publication date:
07 Mar 2013
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Cunningly clever, wry, dry, sharply pointed — Evening Standard
Alarming humour and a powerful talent — Daily Telegraph