The Means of Escape by Penelope Fitzgerald

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With the death of Penelope Fitzgerald this year, the literary world lost one of its finest, most original, and most beloved authors. Fitzgerald began her writing career at age sixty and wrote eight remarkable novels in rapid succession over the next twenty years. Completed just before her death, THE MEANS OF ESCAPE is Fitzgerald's first new book since the best-selling THE BLUE FLOWER. Never before have her short stories been collected in book form, and none of them has ever appeared in the United States.
THE MEANS OF ESCAPE showcases this incomparable author at her most intelligent, her funniest, her best. Like her novels, these brilliant stories are miniature studies of the endless absurdity of human behavior. Concise, comic, biting, and mischievous, they are vintage Fitzgerald. Roaming the globe and the ages, the stories travel from England to France to New Zealand and from today to the seventeenth century. Uniting them is a universal theme: the shifting balance between those who are in positions of power--by wealth, status, or class--and those who, deceptively, are not. THE MEANS OF ESCAPE memorializes a life and a writer guided by a generous but unwavering moral gaze.

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 March 18, 2013 by Mariner Books. 192 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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and in “Desideratus,” the same can be said also of rural England in the 17th century, as a boy from a poor household briefly meets high rank as he retrieves—in a most eerie way—a lost medal, given him as a gift.

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The Guardian

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The Means of Escape Penelope Fitzgerald 117pp, Flamingo, £12.99 Buy it at BOL A slender book of short stories - almost sketches - published posthumously and gathered together from a variety of sources rather than being written for a common purpose suggests not merely a lack of coherence ...

Dec 16 2000 | Read Full Review of The Means of Escape

The Guardian

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Her earlier books methodically used material from her life (running a bookshop, say, or working for the BBC, living with her family on a Thames barge), but then her imagination started roving further afield.

Oct 29 2000 | Read Full Review of The Means of Escape

Publishers Weekly

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A story about the perseverance of rigid class values, ""The Prescription,"" is a cautionary tale about a man of entrenched tradition who despises the outstanding individual achievement of someone of a ""lower order."" In several other tales, however, a self-satisfied character is undone by someon...

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Entertainment Weekly

Penelope Fitzgerald's posthumous — and only — story collection, The Means of Escape, serves as an elegiac gift to dedicated fans of her award-winning novels (The Blue Flower) and a tantalizing introduction for new readers.

Nov 17 2000 | Read Full Review of The Means of Escape

London Review of Books

He was the Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London and the King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge University.

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