The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald

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The plot may be inexplicit, but it is told with a virtuouso storyteller’s technique, is illuminated by classic moments of comedy and keeps one guessing from the first page to the very last line.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Short-listed for the Booker Prize

“Fitzgerald was the author of several slim, perfect novels. The Blue Flower and The Beginning of Spring both had me abuzz for days the first time I read them. She was curiously perfect.”— Teju Cole, author of Open City

“Writing so precise and lilting it can make you shiver.” — Los Angeles Times

March 1913. Moscow is stirring herself to meet the beginning of spring. English painter Frank Reid returns from work one night to find that his wife has gone away; no one knows where or why, or whether she’ll ever come back. All Frank knows for sure is that he is now alone and must find someone to care for his three young children.

Into Frank’s life comes Lisa Ivanovna, a quiet, calming beauty from the country, untroubled to the point of seeming simple. But is she? And why has Frank’s bookkeeper, Selwyn Crane, gone to such lengths to bring these two together?

This new edition features an introduction by Andrew Miller, author of Pure, along with new cover art.
 

About Penelope Fitzgerald

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Penelope Fitzgerald wrote many books small in size but enormous in popular and critical acclaim over the past two decades. Over 300,000 copies of her novels are in print, and profiles of her life appeared in both The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. In 1979, her novel OFFSHORE won Britain's Booker Prize, and in 1998 she won the National Book Critics Circle Prize for THE BLUE FLOWER. Though Fitzgerald embarked on her literary career when she was in her 60's, her career was praised as "the best argument.. for a publishing debut made late in life" (New York Times Book Review). She told the New York Times Magazine, "In all that time, I could have written books and I didn't. I think you can write at any time of your life." Dinitia Smith, in her New York Times Obituary of May 3, 2000, quoted Penelope Fitzgerald from 1998 as saying, "I have remained true to my deepest convictions, I mean to the courage of those who are born to be defeated, the weaknesses of the strong, and the tragedy of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, which I have done my best to treat as comedy, for otherwise how can we manage to bear it?"
 
Published September 3, 1998 by Mariner Books. 272 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Children's Books. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Beginning of Spring
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Robert McCrum on Jul 13 2015

The plot may be inexplicit, but it is told with a virtuouso storyteller’s technique, is illuminated by classic moments of comedy and keeps one guessing from the first page to the very last line.

Read Full Review of The Beginning of Spring | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Eva Stachniak on Feb 06 2012

This is what attracted me to Fitzgerald's world: her urgency, and her keen and observant eye. As an immigrant writer trying to lose myself in history, these became my most precious and trusted tools.

Read Full Review of The Beginning of Spring | See more reviews from NPR

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