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  • Virago
  • Virago

A Quiet Life

Beryl Bainbridge

2 Reviews

Rated 0

Virago Modern Classics, Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

Beryl Bainbridge's classic early novel of English domestic life after the War, A QUIET LIFE is laced with irony and wicked black humour, and was praised by Hilary Mantel as 'one of the funniest books I have ever read'.

Seventeen-year-old Alan can't stand rows. But, though the Second World War has ended, peace hangs by a fine thread at home: his troublesome sister Madge creeps off for night-time liaisons with a German POW; their ineffectual father - broken by the hardships of war and an unhappy marriage - can't put food on the table despite the family's middle-class manners. Meanwhile, his mother pursues her escapist fantasies in romantic novels and love affairs. Obedient, faithful Alan is trapped among them all, the focus of their jibes and resentment, as inexorably the family heads towards disaster. Beryl Bainbridge's classic early novel is a vintage story of English domestic life, laced with sadness, irony and wicked black humour.

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Praise for A Quiet Life

  • The underrated A Quiet Life is one of the funniest books I have ever read . . . There is something shockingly plain about her strongest books, utterly uncompromising. - Hilary Mantel

  • One of the best novelists of her generation. - Guardian

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Beryl Bainbridge

Beryl Bainbridge was one of the greatest living novelists. Author of seventeen novels, two travel books and five plays for stage and television, she was shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, and won many literary awards including the Whitbread Prize and the Author of the Year Award at the British Book Awards. She died in July 2010.