Saturday, 3 July 2010

Beryl Bainbridge

Another witty intelligent writer has gone, leaving us with all the turgid rubbish-mongers who pass for novelists these days. Bainbridge's death is sad enough, but even more depressing is the thought of what would happen were she to submit her novels to a publisher today. Would such a writer even get the chance to be published? I doubt it. Being funny is enough of a handicap - I assume it was that feature of her work that prevented the Booker committee from ever recognising her (has there ever been a funny Booker winner, apart from Penelope Fitzgerald, who most people agree was a startlingly brilliant mistake?) - but there is also the problem of the brevity of her work. Several of her best novels are under 50,000 words, a length that is unacceptable in modern publishing circles (which is so peculiar, given that most readers have less and less time and would appreciate something that doesn't demand a lifetime's commitment).

The Dressmaker, According to Queeney, An Awfully Big Adventure - if you haven't read them, you have some treats in store.


  1. I read An Awfully Big Adventure last year... it was excellent

  2. I loved it too, nurse. A completely different kind of book, but have you tried Peter Temple? I've just started The Broken Shore