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Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont: A Virago Modern Classic

Elizabeth Taylor

4 Reviews

Rated 0

Virago Modern Classics, Fiction, Classic fiction (pre c 1945)

*A humorous and compassionate look at friendship between an old woman and a young man.

Named by the Guardian as one of 'the 100 best novels,' and shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont is a humorous and compassionate look at friendship between an old woman and a young man from a 'magnificent...writer, the missing link between Jane Austen and John Updike' (David Baddiel, Independent)

On a rainy Sunday in January, the recently widowed Mrs Palfrey arrives at the Claremont Hotel where she will spend her remaining days. Her fellow residents are magnificently eccentric and endlessly curious, living off crumbs of affection and snippets of gossip. Together, upper lips stiffened, they fight off their twin enemies: boredom and the Grim Reaper.

Then one day Mrs Palfrey strikes up an unlikely friendship with an impoverished young writer, Ludo, who sees her as inspiration for his novel.

'Elizabeth Taylor's exquisitely drawn character study of eccentricity in old age is a sharp and witty portrait of genteel postwar English life facing the changes taking shape in the 60s . . . Much of the reader's joy lies in the exquisite subtlety in Taylor's depiction of all the relationships, the sharp brevity of her wit, and the apparently effortless way the plot unfolds' -Robert McCrum 'the 100 best novels', Guardian

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Praise for Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont: A Virago Modern Classic

  • Elizabeth Taylor's exquisitely drawn character study of eccentricity in old age is a sharp and witty portrait of genteel postwar English life facing the changes taking shape in the 60s . . . Much of the reader's joy lies in the exquisite subtlety in Taylor's depiction of all the relationships, the sharp brevity of her wit, and the apparently effortless way the plot unfolds . . . Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont is, for me, her masterpiece - Guardian 'the best 100 novels'

  • Jane Austen, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Bowen - soul-sisters all

  • Elizabeth Taylor is finally being recognised as an important British author: an author of great subtlety, great compassion and great depth. As a reader, I have found huge pleasure in returning to Taylor's novels and short stories many times over. As a writer I've returned to her too - in awe of her achievements, and trying to work out how she does it

  • She's a magnificent and underrated mid-20th-century writer, the missing link between Jane Austen and John Updike - Independent

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Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor was born in Reading, Berks in 1912 and educated at the Abbey School. She worked as a governess in a library and at the age of 24 married a businessman with whom she had a son and daughter. Much of her married life was spent in the village of Penn, Bucks. She published twelve novels and four volumes of short stories. She died in 1975.

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