An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge
A Novel

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This provocative and compelling novel by one of Britian's leading writers tells the darkly humorous tale of Stella, a star-struck, teenaged actress caught in the backstage intrigue of a 1950s Liverpool theater repertory company. Stella romances the director of a production of Peter Pan with consequences that would be uproariously funny if they were not so dire. The play becomes a metaphor for the darker side of youth as Stella is drawn into very adult mayhem.

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, 1991 by Penguin Books Ltd. 192 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure. Fiction

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But she is immediately enchanted by the theater company--a shabby Dickensian group of aging ingÇnues, addicts of one sort or another, and the minimally talented who put on everything from Peter Pan to Caesar and Cleopatra In love with the director, the monocled and aloof Meredith, Stella willingl...

Mar 13 1990 | Read Full Review of An Awfully Big Adventure: A N...

Publishers Weekly

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Into this company, directed by elegant Meredith Potter, comes Stella, inveigled into their midst by her uncle/guardian, who feels that the stage is Stella's only alternative to working in Woolworth's.

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Publishers Weekly

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This novel of the theater scene in 1950s Liverpool follows a young actress who becomes romantically involved with a director.

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Los Angeles Times

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Stella Bradshaw, the teen-age heroine of the wickedly diverting novel "An Awfully Big Adventure," is ungrateful, rebellious and willful--traits that exasperate the well-meaning aunt and uncle who have adopted her.

Apr 19 1991 | Read Full Review of An Awfully Big Adventure: A N...


Effete, supercilious, willful and callous, Potter is a dandy and would-be aristocrat whose elegant manner causes the impressionable Stella to become instantly infatuated with him, to the point of adopting his Catholicism and his smoking habit, and altering private communications between her new b...

Jan 29 1995 | Read Full Review of An Awfully Big Adventure: A N...

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