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Shortlisted for the Booker Prize. In a small East Anglian town, Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop. Hardborough becomes a battleground. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. Her fate will strike a chord with anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice.
Penelope Fitzgerald's Booker Prize-winning novel of loneliness and connecting is set among the houseboat community of the Thames and has a new introduction from Alan Hollinghurst. On Battersea Reach, a mixed bag of the temporarily lost and the patently eccentric live on houseboats, rising and falling with the tide of the Thames. There is good-natured Maurice, by occupation a male prostitute, by chance a receiver of stolen goods. And Richard, an ex-navy man whose boat, much like its owner, dominates the Reach. Then there is Nenna, an abandoned wife and mother of two young girls running wild on the muddy foreshore, whose domestic predicament, as it deepens, will draw this disparate community together.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE
Frank Reid had been born and brought up in Moscow. His father had emigrated there in the 1870s and started a print-works which, by 1913, had shrunk from what it was when Frank inherited it. In that same year, to add to his troubles, Frank’s wife Nellie caught the train back home to England, without explanation.
How is a reasonable man like Frank to cope? How should he keep his house running? Should he consult the Anglican chaplain’s wife? Should he listen to the Tolstoyan advice of his chief book-keeper? How do people live together, and what happens when, sometimes, they don’t?
“For the life of me I can’t decide how properly to respond to this book. Whether it contains a latent moral or allegorical message, or whether it is simply a tour de force of craft and imagination I have not the faintest idea. I only know that it is one of the most skilful and utterly fascinating novels I have read for years. I cannot imagine any kind of reader who would not get a thrill from this gloriously peculiar book.”
“Penelope Fitzgerald has produced a real Russian comedy, at once crafty and scatty. She has mastered a city, a landscape and a vanished time. She has written something remarkable, part novel, part evocation, and done so in prose that never puts a foot wrong. She is so unostentatious a writer that she needs to be read several times. What is impressive is the calm confidence behind the apparent simplicity of utterance. 'The Beginning of Spring' is her best novel to date.”
New cover re-issue In the 1960s, Freddie's was the usual name for the Temple Stage School, which supplied the West End theatres with children for roles in everything from Shakespeare to pantomime. Freddie, the proprietress, is a formidable woman, of unknown age and provenance. But everybody who is anybody claims to know her. By sheer force of character and single-minded thrust she has turned herself into a national institution. This story of what happened at Freddie's is not only for theatre-lovers, but for people who care about children or hate them, or were -- once upon a time -- children themselves. In particular, it is for those of us who sometimes pretend to be what we are not -- that is to say, act a little.
Penelope Fitzgerald's final masterpiece. One of the ten books - novels, memoirs and one very unusual biography - that make up our Matchbook Classics' series, a stunningly redesigned collection of some of the best loved titles on our backlist. The year is 1794 and Fritz, passionate, idealistic and brilliant, is seeking his father's permission to announce his engagement to his 'heart's heart', his 'true Philosophy': twelve-year-old Sophie. His astounded family and friends are amused and disturbed by his betrothal. What can he be thinking? Tracing the dramatic early years of the young German who was to become the great romantic poet and philosopher Novalis, The Blue Flower is a masterpiece of invention, evoking the past with a reality that we can almost feel. Her final book, it confirmed Fitzgerald's reputation as one of the finest novelists of the 20th century.
Penelope Fitzgerald's wonderful Booker-nominated novel. This, Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel, was her first to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It is set in a small East Anglian coastal town, where Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop. 'She had a kind heart, but that is not much use when it comes to the matter of self-preservation.' Hardborough becomes a battleground, as small towns so easily do. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. This is a story for anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice.
From the Booker Prizewinning author of `Offshore' and `The Blue Flower'; a funny, touching, authentic story of life at Broadcasting House during the Blitz. The human voices of Penelope Fitzgerald's novel are those of the BBC in the first years of the World War II, the time when the Concert Hall was turned into a dormitory for both sexes, the whole building became a target for enemy bombers, and in the BBC - as elsewhere - some had to fail and some had to die, but where the Nine O'Clock News was always delivered, in impeccable accents, to the waiting nation.
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It is 1912, and at Cambridge University the modern age is knocking at the gate. Fred Fairly, a Junior Fellow at the college of St Angelicus, where for centuries no female, not even a pussy cat, has been allowed to set foot, lectures in physics. Science, he is certain, will explain everything. Until into Fred's orderly life come Daisy. Fred is smitten. Why have I met her? he wonders. How can I tell if she's quite what she seems? Fred is a scientist. To him the truth should be everything. But even scientists make mistakes.
A new edition of the Booker Prize winner Penelope Fitzgerald's best-loved novel of romance in post-war Italy, with a new introduction by Julian Barnes. The Ridolfis are a Florentine family of long lineage and little money. It is 1955, and the family, like its decrepit villa and farm, has seen better days. Only eighteen-year-old Chiara shows anything like vitality. Chiara has set her heart on Salvatore, a young and brilliant doctor who resolved long ago to be emotionally dependent on no one. Faced with this, she calls on her English girlfriend Barney to help her make the impossible match...
From the Booker Prize-winning author of `Offshore' comes this unusual romance between the poet Novalis and his fiancee Sophie, newly introduced by Candia McWilliam. The year is 1794 and Fritz, passionate, idealistic and brilliant, is seeking his father's permission to announce his engagement to his heart's desire: twelve-year-old Sophie. His astounded family and friends are amused and disturbed by his betrothal. What can he be thinking? Tracing the dramatic early years of the young German who was to become the great romantic poet and philosopher Novalis, `The Blue Flower' is a masterpiece of invention, evoking the past with a reality that we can almost feel.
Penelope Fitzgerald, the Booker Prize-winning author of `Offshore' and `The Blue Flower', turns her attention to the remarkable life of the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones. `I mean by a picture a beautiful, romantic dream of something that never was, never will be, in a light better than any light that ever shone - in a land no one can define or remember, only desire' Edward Burne-Jones Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) was the prototypical pre-Raphaelite but with a truly individual sensibility. Penelope Fitzgerald's delightful biography charts his life from humble beginnings in Birmingham as the son of an unsuccessful framer, through a transformative period at Oxford, where he met his close friend and collaborator William Morris, and on to the apprenticeship with Dante Gabriel Rossetti that would shape his artistic vision. His work harks back to an Arthurian England - an Arcadia that offered solace against the onset of the Industrial Revolution, and on a deeply personal level provided respite from his ever-present melancholia. This is an illuminating portrait of a fascinating figure - artistic genius, doting father, troubled husband - written with all Penelope Fitzgerald's characteristic sympathy and insight.
`The Golden Child', Penelope Fitzgerald's first work of fiction, is a classically plotted British mystery centred around the arrival of the Golden Child at a London museum. Far be it for the hapless Waring Smith, junior officer at a prominent London museum, to expect any kind of thanks for his work on the opening of the year's biggest exhibition - The Golden Child. But when he is nearly strangled to death by a shadowy assailant and packed off to Moscow to negotiate with a mysterious curator, he finds himself at the centre of a sinister web of conspiracy, fraudulent artifacts and murder... Her first novel and a comic gem, `The Golden Child' is written with the sharp wit and unerring eye for human foibles that mark Penelope Fitzgerald out as a truly inimitable author, and one to be cherished.
Collected here in a stunning box set, these ten books - novels, memoirs and one very unusual biography - that make up our Matchbook Classics' series, a beautifully redesigned collection of some of the best loved titles on our backlist. In the mid-twentieth century, the matchbox industry was booming. Companies had to stand out, so they began commissioning designers and illustrators to create works of graphic art for their labels. Despite its limitations, the tiny canvas did not inhibit artists' imaginations: foxes skipping through Polish forests, celebrations of Russia's space race successes and orchards coming into blossom. These micro-masterpieces serve as the inspiration for the 4th Estate Matchbook Classics series. The ten books - novels, memoirs and one very unusual biography - are some of the best loved and most admired that 4th Estate has published. Revolutions, mental illness, a vicarage upbringing, families caught in civil war, soldiers in Vietnam and a man who can only communicate by blinking his left eyelid: these books display a full range of the human experience and thrillingly bring it to life. Each can be considered one of the great books of our time, as unique as the matchbox that inspired its cover. Contains: Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien The Shipping News by Annie Proulx Bad Blood by Lorna Sage
A collection of Penelope Fitzgerald's short stories. Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most highly-regarded writers on the English literary scene. Apart from Iris Murdoch, no other writer has been shortlisted so many times for the Booker. Her last novel, `The Blue Flower', was the book of its year, garnering extraordinary acclaim in Britain, America and Europe. This superb collection of stories, originally published in anthologies and newspapers, shows Penelope Fitzgerald at her very best. From the tale of a young boy in 17-century England who loses a precious keepsake and finds it frozen in a puddle of ice, to that of a group of buffoonish amateur Victorian painters on a trip to Brittany, these stories are characteristically wide ranging, enigmatic and very funny. They are each miniature studies of the endless absurdity of human behaviour.
"A tantalising, touching story. An entire life's emotional history in a short space."
Charlotte Mew (1869 – 1928) was a poet with a formidable reputation who, Thomas Hardy declared, was 'far and away the best living woman poet' and who wrote some of the finest English poems of the twentieth century. Her private life, to all appearances, was content and respectable: she was a dutiful daughter, living at home in late Victorian Bloomsbury, waiting, with the help of a sister, on a monster of an old mother. The proprieties had to be observed and no-one suspected that the Mews had no money, that two siblings were insane and that Charlotte was a lesbian, living in the dark thrill of self-inflicted frustration.
On all this Charlotte put a brave face, but despite literary success and a passionate, enchanting personality, eventually the conflicts within her drove her to despair, and she killed herself by drinking a glass of the household disinfectant, Lysol, the cheapest poison available.
In this unexpectedly gripping portrait of 'Bloomsbury's saddest poet', Penelope Fitzgerald brings all her novelists skills into play. The story she tells is a tragic one, but the book is full of the love of life.
"Moving and vivid. Her story reads like a Victorian melodrama"
"A sad story, beautifully told."
"Everyone says you can't write the biography of a genius. Penelope Fitzgerald has…and she has managed to present Charlotte Mew with such subtlety that you feel you've read her work, even if you haven't."
WITH A SELECTION OF CHARLOTTE MEW'S POEMS
Penelope Fitzgerald's biography of her remarkable family. `When I was very young I took my uncles for granted, and it never occurred to me that everyone else in the world was not like them.' In this, only her second book, Penelope Fitzgerald turned her novelist's gaze on the quite extraordinary lives of her father and his three brothers. A masterly work of biography, within which we see Penelope Fitzgerald exercising her pen magnificently before she began her novel-writing career. Edmund Knox, her father, was one of the most successful editors of Punch. Dillwyn, a Cambridge Greek scholar, was the first to crack the Nazi's message decoding system, Enigma, and in so doing, is estimated to have shortened the Second World War by six months. Wilfred became an Anglo-Catholic priest and an active welfare worker in the East End of London. Ronald, the best known of the four during his lifetime, was Roman Catholic chaplain to Oxford University's student body, preacher, wit, scholar, crime-writer and translator of the Bible. A homage to a long-forgotten world and a fascinating account of the generation straddling the divide between late Victorian and Edwardian.
'House-bound' was written during the war and the war is both in the background and foreground: one of the questions that the reader is asked throughout the book is - what is courage? Winifred Peck is also funny and perceptive about Rose Fairlaw's decision to manage her house on her own.
It is 1946 and the people of France and England are facing the aftermath of the war. Banished by her beautiful, indolent mother to England, Barbary Deniston is thrown into the care of her distinguished father and conventional stepmother. Having grown up in the sunshine of Provence, allowed to run wild with the Maquis, experienced collaboration, betrayal and death, Barbary finds it hard to adjust to the drab austerity of postwar London life. Confused and unhappy, she discovers one day the flowering wastes around St Paul's. Here, in the bombed heart of London, she finds an echo of the wilderness of Provence and is forced to confront the wilderness within herself.
A damaged survivor of the First World War, Tom Birkin finds refuge in the village church of Oxgodby where he is to spend the summer uncovering a huge medieval wall-painting. Immersed in the peace and beauty of the countryside and the unchanging rhythms of village life Birkin experiences a sense of renewal and belief in the future. Now an old man, Tom looks back on that idyllic summer of 1920, remembering a vanished place of blissful calm, untouched by change, a precious moment he has carried with him through the disappointments of the years.
A fascinating collection of letters from the great English novelist - and prolific correspondent - Penelope Fitzgerald. Acclaimed for her exquisitely elegant novels - including the Booker Prize-winning 'Offshore' - and superb biographies, Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the finest British authors of the last century. Published here for the first time are her collected letters. An unparalleled record of the life of this greatly admired writer, these letters reveal her most important family relationships and friendships, and paint a clear picture both of herself and of her correspondents. They show us how she managed her own career - according to her own convictions - and how determined she was to put her world view across. A fascinating portrait of Penelope Fitzgerald as a mother, as a friend and as a writer, these letters give the same pleasure they gave to those who first opened them. Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most distinctive voices in British literature. The prize-winning author of nine novels, three biographies and one collection of short stories, she died in 2000.
The Blue Flower is set in the age of Goethe, in the small towns and great universities of late-eighteenth-century Germany. It tells the true story of Friedrich von Hardenberg, a passionate, impetuous student of philosophy who will later gain fame as the Romantic poet Novalis. Fritz seeks his father's permission to wed his heart's heart, his spirit's guide -- a plain, simple child named Sophie von Kuhn. It is an attachment that shocks his family and friends. Their brilliant young Fritz, betrothed to a twelve-year-old dullard? How can this be?The irrationality of love, the transfiguration of the commonplace, the clarity of purpose that comes with knowing one's own fate -- these are the themes of this beguiling novel, themes treated with a mix of wit, grace, and mischievous humor unique to the art of Penelope Fitzgerald. This new edition features an introduction by Candia McWilliam.
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