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It was inspired by the most difficult years of Fitzgerald's own life, years during which she lived on an old Thames sailing barge moored at Battersea Reach. I read it because the author is recommended to readers who love Barbara Pym and Elizabeth Taylor, which I do, but I can't at the moment see why. To access your ebook(s) after purchasing, you can download the free Glose app or read instantly on your browser by logging into Glose. This was something I'd been looking for anyway - reaching for a description a couple of months ago I'd said "like Barbara Pym but grittier"… Offshore is also more eccentric. An exquisite little novel in which not much happens until the end, and yet, due to storms of all kinds, the whole world of each protagonist changes irrevocably.

Her last novel, The Blue Flower, was the most admired novel of 1995, chosen no fewer than nineteen times in the press as the ‘Book of the Year’. However, by the time I finally stepped away from the little Thames community, I could see that it all linked in its own way and there were few loose ends.Penelope Fitzgerald (17 December 1916 – 28 April 2000) was a Booker Prize–winning English novelist, poet, essayist and biographer. I am sure the fault is entirely mine but Offshore left me feeling rather like I had spent several hours on a draughty barge: cold and with dampened enthusiasm for the whole experience. Oh, a gentleman’s county,’ Pinkie replied, wallowing through his barrier of ice, ‘Say Northamptonshire. There is one character who made this book work for me, and it is Nenna’s 6-year old daughter, Tilda. I love Fitzgerald for her warm humanity, her wonderfully observant children, her bubbling wit ( The two girls sat on the wall of Old Battersea churchyard to eat their sandwiches.

But a certain failure, distressing to themselves, to be like other people, caused them to sink back, with so much else that drifted or was washed into the mud moorings of the great tideway. In Richard’s absence Nenna is unable to oppose Louise’s plan to take her and Tilda and Martha back to Halifax, where Louise has their lives planned. Though no more than a faint background presence, she is extraordinarily sensitive to the pathos of impermanence.As the book worked up to an ending which shocks you with its abruptness, but on reflection seems the most appropriate one possible, I began to see how the threads of the story all prove to have a purpose, link and mesh tightly together.

The one whose life we learn the most about is Willis, a retired marine painter who is trying to sell his unseaworthy boat Dreadnought.It is Nenna’s domestic predicament that, as it deepens, draws the relations among this scrubby community together into ever more complex and comic patterns. I am a quote marker, and I found that I had read this book and marked only two passages, and neither of them was striking. Why shouldn't this neat little book, where no episode, no character and no character's thoughts take up much room, make for a perfectly acceptable narrative, as economical in its own way as the inside of a barge dweller's home? Since Fitzgerald lived there the boats are no longer restricted to flushing their toilets on a falling tide, and residents and visitors no longer need to clamber from one boat to another. Prayer should be beyond self, and so Nenna repeated a Hail Mary for everyone in the world who was lost in Kingsland Road without their bus fares.

When Nenna decides to confront Edward to salvage the marriage or to confront him, the way they quarrel and how Nenna speaks to Edward's landlord, and his mother, both of whom Nenna had just met, totally blew me away, and not in a good way.

I started at the beginning and started making assumptions, like all Booker Prize winners are about the empire. ETA: I'm reading from a forthcoming work by Edmund White, and he says this: "[Fitzgerald] may have been born in grandeur, but her husband was an alcoholic who drank up every penny, was convicted for stealing checks, and lost his job.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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