According to Queeney by Beryl Bainbridge

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Synopsis

Bainbridge's brilliantly imagined, universally acclaimed, Booker Prize-longlisted novel portrays the inordinate appetites and unrequited love touched off when the most celebrated man of eighteenth-century English letters, Samuel Johnson, enters the domain of a wealthy Southwark brewer and his wife, Hester Thrale. The melancholic, middle-aged lexicographer plunges into an increasingly ambiguous relationship with the vivacious Mrs. Thrale for the next twenty years. In that time Hester's eldest daughter, the neglected but prodigiously clever Queeney, will grow into young womanhood. Along the way, little of the emotional tangle and sexual tension stirring beneath the decorous surfaces of the Thrale household will escape Queeney's cold, observant eye. "A dark, often hilarious and deeply human vision ... a major literary accomplishment."—Margaret Atwood, Toronto Globe and Mail "...at the end of this luminous little novel ... we feel two losses ... the personal one and the loss to civilization."—Richard Bernstein, New York Times "Dialogue and descriptions subtly and skillfully convey a sense not only of the period but also the personalities."—Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times "[Bainbridge's] most accomplished novel so far."—Washington Post Book World "Majestically deft.... Absolutely wonderful."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

 

About Beryl Bainbridge

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Beryl Bainbridge was born on November 21, 1934, in Liverpool, England. She became an actress at a young age and worked in English repertory theatres and on the radio. Her work contains dark, somber subject matter, deftly mixed with humor. Her writing acts as an outlet for her childhood frustrations, and frequently deals with family relations. In her novels, she recalls memories of disappointment and of a bad-tempered, brooding father. During her lifetime, she wrote 18 novels including A Weekend with Claude, Another Part of the Wood, The Bottle Factory Outing, The Birthday Boys, According to Queeney, and Young Adolf. She adapted many of her novels, such as An Awfully Big Adventure, Sweet William, and The Dressmaker, for film. She has received numerous awards and honors including the Whitbread Award in 1977 for Injury Time and in 1996 for Every Man for Himself; the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction in 1998 for Master Georgie; a Guardian Fiction Award, and the David Cohen Prize for Literature in 2003. She was made a dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000. She died from cancer on July 2, 2010 at the age of 77.
 
Published January 1, 2001 by Unknown.
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Travel, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for According to Queeney

Kirkus Reviews

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Testimony from several other characters (many servants) is skillfully integrated into the swiftly moving narrative, and Bainbridge also offers brief glimpses of Johnson’s own tempestuous demeanor, dictated by his vulnerability to gout, depression, sudden and impulsive emotional outbursts, and the...

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The New York Times

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The Thrales' children also became, according to Bate, ''very much a part of Johnson's life.'' In her new novel, Bainbridge seeks to explore this long stretch of Johnson's existence as it appeared to Hester's namesake daughter, nicknamed Queene...

Aug 12 2001 | Read Full Review of According to Queeney

The Guardian

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According to Queeney Beryl Bainbridge 224pp, Little, Brown, £16.99 In 1766, Samuel Johnson, having just completed his wonderful edition of Shakespeare, lurched into what we would call severe depression.

Sep 01 2001 | Read Full Review of According to Queeney

The Guardian

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According to Queeney Beryl Bainbridge Little, Brown £16.99, pp224 In the summer of 1766 Samuel Johnson, exhausted by his colossal labours on his dictionary and his edition of Shakespeare, suffered a breakdown.

Aug 26 2001 | Read Full Review of According to Queeney

Publishers Weekly

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Some of it is seen through the eyes of Mrs. Thrale's eldest daughter, the Queeney of the title, but such is Bainbridge's virtuosity with points of view that she can move into Dr. Johnson's or Mrs. Thrale's heads at will.

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London Review of Books

Giuseppe Baretti, formerly Italian master to the Thrale children, published a series of ‘Strictures’ accusing Mrs Thrale of having abused her children, Queeney and Harry especially: Harry’s death, he insinuated, had been caused by his mother’s administration of quack vermifuges against which her ...

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