An Awfully Big Adventure
‘This is one of Bainbridge’s best books. The close observation and hilarity are underlain by a sense of tragedy as deep as any in fiction’ The Times
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE IN 1990
It is 1950 and the Liverpool repertory theatre company is rehearsing its Christmas production of Peter Pan, a story of childhood innocence and loss. Stella has been taken on as assistant stage manager and quickly becomes obsessed with Meredith, the dissolute director. But it is only when the celebrated O’Hara arrives to take the lead, that a different drama unfolds. In it, he and Stella are bound together in a past that neither dares to interpret.
A subtle schizophrenic insight into adult relationships ... Bainbridge's understated prose and obsessive eye for the smallest and most telling of details have never been better employed * TIME OUT * Imagine Priestley's THE GOOD COMPANIONS as written by Gogol and you will have some idea of the mixture of waggish humour and sordid pathos in Bainbridge's novel * SUNDAY TIMES * Vintage bittersweet Bainbridge * MAIL ON SUNDAY * A Booker Prize nominee, Bainbridge's latest novel is a compelling read...In Stella Bradshaw, a teenage aspiring actress from the slums of Liverpool, Bainbridge limns a tough but beguiling character. She also deftly conveys the atmosphere of 1950s England, still grimly bomb-cratered, coping with food rationing and the visible casualties of maimed veterans. Her portrait of a seedy repertory troupe, whose members histrionically indulge in love affairs and unrequited passions, is classic...Her innocent but dangerous impulses and her crush on Meredith, whose homosexuality eludes her, makes Stella a sort of Typhoid Mary of psychological injury; one after another, members of the troupe suffer from her impetuous behavior. Bainbridge's prose brims with pithy insights tinged with sardonic humor, and her plot moves swiftly to a chilling conclusion * Publishers Weekly * A subtle schizophrenic insight into adult relationships ... Bainbridge's understated prose and obsessive eye for the smallest and most telling of details have never been better employed * Time Out * Imagine Priestley's The Good Companions as written by Gogol and you will have some idea of the mixture of waggish humour and sordid pathos in Bainbridge's novel * Sunday Times * Vintage bitter-sweet Bainbridge * Mail on Sunday * Acknowledged as one of the best novelists of her generation...Beryl's literary fiction can have a quality of a detective story: only when we reach a novel's final denouement do we see that we were given the key to its coded mystery at the start. A certain menace emanates from a story's first page and builds almost imperceptibly to its climax in a refined but savage violence * Guardian *
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