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Bernard and Pat

Blair James

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

This powerful UK debut from young writer Blair James is an intense reading experience: disturbing and caustic, BERNARD AND PAT is a novel about childhood, memory, sexual awakening and abuses of power

I suppose that these are the horses from which we are thrown.
We see things as we are, not as they are.
How do we best see? With eyes old or new?
How well do we rise after falling?

Catherine is small and everyone else is big. The world has lots of rules which she cannot keep up with, and lots of things happen that just don't feel right. With Dad gone and Mum at work, Catherine spends her days with Bernard and Pat. These are days that she will never forget but never quite remember, either.

Bernard and Pat is a tour-de-force, a novel deeply aware of the peculiarities of memory and the vulnerability of childhood. Catherine's voice is unforgettable.

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Praise for Bernard and Pat

  • Bernard And Pat is an exquisitely crafted, beautiful little book, which asks startlingly brave questions about how the past invades our present and makes us who we are. Arresting and terse, every one of James's sentences is a novel in itself

  • Bernard And Pat is an exquisitely crafted, beautiful little book, which asks startlingly brave questions about how the past invades our present and makes us who we are. Arresting and terse, every one of James's sentences is a novel in itself

  • Bernard and Pat is terrifyingly immersive and brilliant, it reminded me of Nabokov, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing and Barbara Comyns

  • Bernard and Pat is terrifyingly immersive and brilliant, it reminded me of Nabokov, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing and Barbara Comyns

  • Written in short, titled segments, the childlike narration takes us back to her babysitters, Bernard and Pat, and to life after her father died when she was a small girl, lonely and confused in an adult world . . . The adult tone that begins to disrupt the child's perspective is exceptionally well drawn as the whole picture is revealed, little by little, with growing suspense. Acutely observed, and psychologically on the button. Superb - Irish Times

  • Written in short, titled segments, the childlike narration takes us back to her babysitters, Bernard and Pat, and to life after her father died when she was a small girl, lonely and confused in an adult world . . . The adult tone that begins to disrupt the child's perspective is exceptionally well drawn as the whole picture is revealed, little by little, with growing suspense. Acutely observed, and psychologically on the button. Superb - Irish Times

  • [Catherine's] voice is intriguing . . . memory and the tricks it plays are at the centre of this intense piece of writing - Daily Mail

  • [Catherine's] voice is intriguing . . . memory and the tricks it plays are at the centre of this intense piece of writing - Daily Mail

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