Saturday, 12 May 2012

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week

Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week

There is a Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week coming up next month, hosted by Annabel at Gaskella. I am looking forward to reading at least a couple more of Bainbridge's novels. Wittily transgressive, I have enjoyed all of her work that I have read thus far:  Winter Garden; The Bottle Factory Outing and Master Georgie.

I would particularly recommend the second two, both of which have featured on this blog, although The Bottle Factory Outing gets but a few lines. Master Georgie featured on my "Best of" from last year.

'Scream!' said Harriet. And they did.
This week I found my first book for the Reading Week, a rather disheveled and disreputable looking 70's paperback edition of her first novel, which was her third novel published. The story is told inside the cover and I thought it was worth repeating.

"Harriet Said . . . has a curious publishing history. Although it is Beryl Bainbridge' third published novel, coming after A Weekend With Claude and Another Part of the Wood, it was the first written. In the late 'fifties it was rejected by all the publishers to whom it was sent on the grounds that the presentation of the two schoolgirls was indecent and unpalatable. One publisher wrote 'what repulsive little creatures you have made the two central characters, repulsive almost beyond belief!' The Manuscript lay forgotten, believed lost, until it was recently unearthed and resubmitted. In today's more enlightened climate, it was immediately accepted for publication. And reviewers unanimously welcomed the resurrection of Beryl Bainbridge's remarkable first book: 'an extraordinary novel; brilliantly subtle, full of disturbing surprises, full of truth.' (Valerie Jones, Evening Standard) . . . 'a thoroughly enjoyable horror experience. It is very seldom that writers of intelligence and imagination lend their talents to a really good horror story, and this one could scarcely be bettered. Miss Bainbridge's description of the psychopathic Harriet is totally convincing' (Auberon Waugh, Spectator)"

I hope this may help whet the appetite of some more participants for the Reading Week. I look forward to finding some more Bainbridges before that time and may even shop online if I don't find any more. (Young Adolf looks particularly interesting, I think)


  1. I have this on order -- so thanks for the story behind it. I'm really looking forward to it now.

    1. I'm glad I found this one. It looks fascinating.

  2. I found this fascinating. And I love the cover art you depict. I have begun The Bottle Factory outing and she has done abrikkiant job depicting the factory atmosphere