Beryl Bainbridge - A Quiet Life - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9781405513708
    • Publication date:07 Mar 2013
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A Quiet Life

By Beryl Bainbridge

  • Paperback
  • £9.99

Beryl Bainbridge's classic early novel of English domestic life after the War, A Quiet Life is laced with irony and wicked black humour, and was praised by Hilary Mantel as 'one of the funniest books I have ever read'.

Seventeen-year-old Alan can't stand rows. But, though the Second World War has ended, peace hangs by a fine thread at home: his troublesome sister Madge creeps off for night-time liaisons with a German POW; their ineffectual father - broken by the hardships of war and an unhappy marriage - can't put food on the table despite the family's middle-class manners. Meanwhile, his mother pursues her escapist fantasies in romantic novels and love affairs. Obedient, faithful Alan is trapped among them all, the focus of their jibes and resentment, as inexorably the family heads towards disaster. Beryl Bainbridge's classic early novel is a vintage story of English domestic life, laced with sadness, irony and wicked black humour.

Biographical Notes

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.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781844088638
  • Publication date: 07 Mar 2013
  • Page count: 176
  • Imprint: Virago
The underrated A Quiet Life is one of the funniest books I have ever read . . . There is something shockingly plain about her strongest books, utterly uncompromising. — Hilary Mantel
One of the best novelists of her generation. — Guardian
Piatkus

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Calamitous Chinese Killing

Shamini Flint
Authors:
Shamini Flint

Inspector Singh is on a mission to China, against his better judgment. The son of a bigwig at the Singapore Embassy has been bludgeoned to death in a back alley in Beijing. The Chinese security insist that he was the victim of a robbery gone wrong, but the young man's mother demands that Singapore's finest (in his own opinion) rides to the rescue.But solving a murder in a country that practices socialism 'with Chinese characteristics' is a dangerous business. And it soon becomes apparent that getting to the bottom of this calamitous killing will be his toughest case yet . . .

Virago

Sweet William

Beryl Bainbridge
Authors:
Beryl Bainbridge
Sphere

Safe Haven

Nicholas Sparks
Authors:
Nicholas Sparks
Sphere

A Walk To Remember

Nicholas Sparks
Authors:
Nicholas Sparks
Virago

A Weekend With Claude

Beryl Bainbridge
Authors:
Beryl Bainbridge
Virago

Harriet Said...

Beryl Bainbridge
Authors:
Beryl Bainbridge

A girl returns from boarding school to her sleepy Merseyside hometown and waits to be reunited with her childhood friend, Harriet, chief architect of all their past mischief. She roams listlessly along the shoreline and the woods still pitted with wartime trenches, and encounters 'the Tsar' - almost old, unhappily married, both dangerously fascinating and repulsive.Pretty, malevolent Harriet finally arrives - and over the course of the long holidays draws her friend into a scheme to beguile then humiliate the Tsar, with disastrous, shocking consequences. A gripping portrayal of adolescent transgression, Beryl Bainbridge's classic first novel remains as subversive today as when it was written.

Abacus

The Girl In The Polka Dot Dress

Beryl Bainbridge
Authors:
Beryl Bainbridge

In the summer of 1968, Rose sets off for the United States from Kentish Town; in her suitcase a polka-dot dress and a one-way ticket. Together with the sinister man known only as Washington Harold, she goes in search of the charismatic and elusive Dr Wheeler - the man Rose credits with rescuing her from a terrible childhood, and against whom Harold nurses a silent grudge.As the odd couple journey across an America on the brink of paranoid disintegration, their journey mirrors that of Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign. As they draw ever closer to the elusive Dr Wheeler, one hot day in June at the Ambassador Hotel in LA, their search finally reaches its terrible climax.

Abacus

Mum and Mr Armitage

Beryl Bainbridge
Authors:
Beryl Bainbridge

Women in fox furs, not-quite travelling salesmen, the twilight zone of genteel hotels and lodging houses - these newly reissued short stories are quintessential Bainbridge territory. Blazing with her irreplaceable talent, Mum and Mr Armitage takes us on a journey through a unique fictional terrain; from a country house in Sussex to a script-writing course on a cruise liner. Macabre, witty and brilliantly observed, they confirm Beryl Bainbridge's place as one of our greatest writers of fiction.

Sphere

Just Another Manic Mum-Day

Mink Elliott
Authors:
Mink Elliott

Roxy, Jack and daughter Joey, three, are building a new life for themselves in sunny Sydney, Australia, but Roxy's finding it hard to settle down. When she discovers she's pregnant again, things become even more complicated - how will she cope with a second child?Frustrated at the lack of places for stressed-out mums to go, Roxy and her new friend, Shoshanna, set up Just Another Manic Mum-Day - a café catering exclusively for parents. But when an opportunity arises for Roxy to return to England, she realises just how much she's missed home . . .

Sphere

The Circus Of Ghosts

Barbara Ewing
Authors:
Barbara Ewing

New York, late 1840s, and in the wild, noisy, brash and beautiful circus of Silas P. Swift a shadowy, mesmeric woman entrances crowds because she can unlock the secrets of troubled minds. Above them all her daughter sweeps and soars: acrobat and tightrope-walker. People cannot take their eyes from the mysterious woman in the Big Top who can help so many others - but she cannot unlock dark, literally unspeakable, memories of her own. In London memories fester in the mind of an old and venomous duke of the realm. He plots, with an unscrupulous lawyer (and a huge financial reward) against the mother and the daughter: to kill one, and to abduct the other and bring her across the Atlantic to him: She is mine. The actress and mesmerist Cordelia Preston and her daughter Gwenlliam live with their unusual family in the exciting new city among exciting new ideas: the telegraph, the daguerrotype, anaesthesia, table-tapping. And among the dangerous street-gangs of New York also, whose raw violence meets Cordelia and Gwenlliam and those that they love, with unexpected results.

Sphere

The Brave

Nicholas Evans
Authors:
Nicholas Evans
Corsair

A Visit From the Goon Squad

Jennifer Egan
Authors:
Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan's spellbinding novel circles the lives of Bennie Salazar, an ageing former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa.We first meet Sasha in her mid-thirties, on her therapist's couch in New York City, confronting her long-standing compulsion to steal. Later, we learn the genesis of her turmoil when we see her as the child of a violent marriage, then a runaway living in Naples, then as a college student trying to avert the suicidal impulses of her best friend. We meet Bennie Salazar at the melancholy nadir of his adult life-divorced, struggling to connect with his nine-year-old son, listening to a washed up band in the basement of a suburban house-and then revisit him in 1979, at the height of his youth, shy and tender, revelling in San Francisco's punk scene as he discovers his ardour for rock and roll and his gift for spotting talent. We learn what became of his high school gang-who thrived and who faltered-and we encounter Lou Kline, Bennie's catastrophically careless mentor, along with the lovers and children left behind in the wake of Lou's far flung sexual conquests and meteoric rise and fall.A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about the interplay of time and music, about survival, about the stirrings and transformations set inexorably in motion by even the most passing conjunction of our fates. In a breathtaking array of styles and tones ranging from tragedy to satire to Powerpoint, Egan captures the undertow of self-destruction that we all must either master or succumb to; the basic human hunger for redemption; and the universal tendency to reach for both-and escape the merciless progress of time-in the transporting realms of art and music. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.

Abacus

City Of Veils

Zoe Ferraris
Authors:
Zoe Ferraris

The crime: one scalding afternoon, the mutilated body of a young woman, half naked beneath her burqa, is discovered on a Saudi beach; soon afterwards a Western woman's husband vanishes without trace.The place: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the City of Veils. A city of narrow streets and closed shutters, where nothing is what it seems ;and the Empty Quarter - one of the most beautiful, yet unforgiving deserts on earth.The people: Miriam Walker, alone in an alien culture, desperate to find her missing husband. Katya, a forensic scientist battling the prejudices of a society full of sexual, religious and moral contradictions; and Nayir, devout Muslim, desert guide, amateur sleuth - the man she loves.

Abacus

What Happens Now

Jeremy Dyson
Authors:
Jeremy Dyson

Winter, 1981, and fifteen-year-old Alistair Black is wrestling with the fierce power of his imagination. The boundaries between what is real and what is fantasy are dissolving to increasingly dangerous effect. And then he falls in love with Alice . . . WHAT HAPPENS NOW is a mesmerizing story about love, fear and faith. Atmospheric, suspenseful and spiked with black humour, it confirms Jeremy Dyson as one of the most exciting and original writers of his generation.

Abacus

The Little Book

Selden Edwards
Authors:
Selden Edwards
Abacus

The Dressmaker

Beryl Bainbridge
Authors:
Beryl Bainbridge

'The book I wish I'd written . . . Witty, chilling, every word in place' Hilary Mantel, GuardianWartime Liverpool is a place of ration books and jobs in munitions factories. Rita, living with her two aunts Nellie and Margo, is emotionally naïve and withdrawn. When she meets Ira, a GI, at a neighbour's party she falls in love as much with the idea of life as a GI bride as with the man himself. But Nellie and Margo are not so blind...

Abacus

The Bottle Factory Outing

Beryl Bainbridge
Authors:
Beryl Bainbridge
Abacus

Every Man For Himself

Beryl Bainbridge
Authors:
Beryl Bainbridge

WINNER OF THE WHITBREAD PRIZE FOR FICTION 1996WINNER OF THE COMMONWEALTH WRITERS' PRIZE 1997'A narrative both sparkling and deep... the cost of raising [the Titanic] is prohibitive; Bainbridge does the next best thing' Hilary Mantel'Brilliant...do not miss this novel' Daily Telegraph'A moving, microcosmic portrait of an era's bitter end' The TimesFor the four fraught, mysterious days of her doomed maiden voyage in 1912, the Titanic sails towards New York, glittering with luxury, freighted with millionaires and hopefuls. In her labyrinthine passageways the last, secret hours of a small group of passengers are played out, their fate sealed in prose of startling, sublime beauty, as Beryl Bainbridge's haunting masterpiece moves inexorably to its known and terrible end.

Abacus

The Cranes That Build The Cranes

Jeremy Dyson
Authors:
Jeremy Dyson

Jeremy Dyson is a master of the macabre, of stories brimming with black humour and the promise of something sinister just around the corner. In his new collection he explores the dark depths of the human condition, offering tales of death, disaster and - just occasionally - redemption. An unhappy, near-autistic bookseller acquires miraculous powers over life and death and exacts his revenge on the world - in a cruel and unexpected way.Alone in their isolated boarding school, three boys explore the mysterious cellar that is officially off-limits, only to discover something far worse than they expected about the building and themselves.A pathological fear of violent crime drives a wealthy property developer to purchase a private island and build himself a home of absolute security. Unfortunately he succeeds in attracting the very thing he fears the most.In these and other tales of suspense and horror, Jeremy Dyson introduces the reader to a world that is at once mysterious and strangely familiar . . .

Abacus

Winter Garden

Beryl Bainbridge
Authors:
Beryl Bainbridge

Quiet and reliable, Douglas Ashburner has never been much of a womaniser. So when he begins an extra-marital affair with Nina, a bossy, temperamental artist with a penchant for risky sex, he finds adultery a terrible strain.He tells his wife that he needs a rest, so she happily packs him off for a fishing holiday in the Highlands. Only, unknown to her, Douglas is actually flying off to Moscow with Nina, as a guest of the Soviet Artists' Union. It is then that things begin to get very complicated indeed...