The classic first ever published novel by acclaimed author Beryl Bainbridge, in 1967, A Weekend with Claude is a wickedly funny portrait of frustrated middle-class lives.
An old snapshot shows a group of friends lounging in the sunshine, on a weekend in the country at the invitation of bearded, satyric Claude and his wife Julia. The girl in the centre is dreamy Lily, whose latest failed love affair forms the purpose of the weekend, as Lily's friends set out to help her ensnare an unwitting father for her unborn child. Next to her is Norman, a Marxist romantic hell-bent on seducing his milk-white hostess; behind them is old, persecuted Shebah; and, slightly apart, the young man on whom all hopes are pinned: quiet, pleasant Edward.
Told through the fractured narratives of Claude, Lily, Shebah and Norman, in Beryl Bainbridge's first published novel a darkly comic weekend of friendship and failure unravels.
Extremely lively and incisive entertainment - Times Literary Supplement
Her genius lies in the comic evocation of the flat and mundane life against which her characters and in perpetual and ineffectual revolt - Sunday Times
Delicious... very elegant and pleasing... a work of art - Scotsman
Beryl Bainbridge wrote seventeen novels, two travel books and five plays for stage and television, she was shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, and won literary awards including the Whitbread Prize and the Author of the Year Award at the British Book Awards. She died in July 2010.