Sunday, May 29, 2011


Beryl Bainbridge,
Little,Brown - NZ $39.99

This from The Guardian:

"It is a pleasure to record that The Girl in the Polka-dot Dress ranks among the finest of Bainbridge's fine works of fiction. The narrative is by turns sombre, terrifying and hilarious." Paul Bailey in the Independent argued that Beryl Bainbridge's posthumously published "road novel", set on the freeways of America in 1968, "reads like a summation" of her art: "It is carefully constructed, as always, but there is a sense in which the author is returning to her roots." For AN Wilson in the Spectator, the novel is "very gripping, very funny and deeply mysterious. She has abandoned the oblique historical miniatures with which her last decade had been occupied . . . and she has returned to that vein of comedy in which a self-projection becomes caught up in a series of grotesque, fantastical events . . . Beryl Bainbridge is an immortal." Derwent May in the Times agreed the "atmosphere of Bainbridge's early books returns in this last novel. What conclusion did Beryl intend? . . . We are left with a fascinating book that is like a new Mystery of Edwin Drood – and will no doubt offer as much work to imaginative scholars as Dickens's unfinished novel has done."

This is my current fiction read, I should finish it today, and I must say I find it a remarkable piece of writing.

The book contains the following statement:

Beryl Bainbridge was in the process of finishing The Girl in the Polka-dot Dress when she died on 2 July 2010. Her long-time friend and editor, Brendan King, prepared the text for publication from her working manuscript, taking into account suggestions Beryl had made at the end of her life. No additional material has been included.

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