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Author: Beryl Bainbridge
ISBN13: 978-0060165444
Title: An Awfully Big Adventure: A Novel
Format: docx mobi lrf rtf
ePUB size: 1603 kb
FB2 size: 1909 kb
DJVU size: 1830 kb
Language: English
Category: Genre Fiction
Publisher: Harpercollins; First American edition (February 1, 1991)
Pages: 240

An Awfully Big Adventure: A Novel by Beryl Bainbridge

Beryl Bainbridge writes a great book that masquerades as pure black comedy, while providing an enduring snapshot of life after the war as people of all persuasions lived on their wits to get by and get on. A book much deeper than first impressions might indicate. An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge was the second book I'd read by this writer. The first one was The Bottle Factory Outing which I enjoyed, so I came to An Awfully Big Adventure with high hopes. An Awfully Big Adventure is set in a 1950s Liverpool repertory company. Repertory and regional theatre can be a wonderful setting for a novel: all the petty feuding, the power struggles, the thwarted ambitions etc. It's society in microcosm.

An Awfully Big Adventure. An Awfully Big Adventure. The trombone player, thinking they’d returned to collect a ration book left with the landlady, had remained outside in Faulkner Square, puffing on a cigar. He’d wound up the window when the bells of the Anglican cathedral began to ring for morning service and missed altogether the commotion inside the boarding-house

An Awfully Big Adventure is a novel written by Beryl Bainbridge. It was short listed for the Booker Prize in 1990 and adapted as a movie in 1995. The story was inspired by Bainbridge's own experiences working at the Liverpool Playhouse in her youth. Set in working-class England right after World War II, the story observes sexual politics amongst a troupe of actors working at a shabby regional playhouse.

I’ll finish with a final quote, one that conveys something of the atmosphere of England in the early ‘50s, a time when the fallout from WW2 was still visible for all to see.

Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading An Awfully Big Adventure: A Novel. In Stella Bradshaw, a teenage aspiring actress from the slums of Liverpool, Bainbridge limns a tough but beguiling character. She also deftly conveys the atmosphere of 1950s England, still grimly bomb-cratered, coping with food rationing and the visible casualties of maimed veterans. Originally published in 1989, Bainbridge draws upon some of her own experiences as an actor around that time. Gone is Priestley's enjoyable, rather sentimental approach.

It was the second of her works – the first was Young Adolf, which appeared in 1978 – to move outside her own experience, the girlhood and young womanhood she had refashioned for her fiction in books such as The Dressmaker and The Bottle Factory Outing. Interested readers may wish to turn to Psiche Hughes’s handsome little book Beryl Bainbridge: Artist, Writer, Friend for a better sense of just how accomplished she was. This is not, however, a literary or an artistic biography, though it is conscientious and detailed and tries to be fair and kind. It is at pains to correct some of the stories Bainbridge told about herself and those around her during her life. View More by This Author. This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize: In postwar Liverpool, a teenager joins a theater troupe to escape her working-class life-and is drawn into a darker world. Adapted into a 1995 film starring Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman, An Awfully Big Adventure is an atmospheric historical novel about the loss of innocence with a definitively modern-and chilling-twist. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Beryl Bainbridge including rare images from the author’s estate. From Publishers Weekly. Jun 28, 1993 – This novel of the theater scene in 1950s Liverpool follows a young actress who becomes romantically involved with a director.

About An Awfully Big Adventure - It is 1950 and the Liverpool reporatory theatre company is rehearsing its Christmas production of Peter Pan, a story. These are the most recent 10 blog posts about An Awfully Big Adventure in JacketFlap's Children's Publishing Blog Reader. Fiction, Psychological.

Fifteen-year-old Stella is hired as an assistant stage manager for a theater repertory company's Christmas production of "Peter Pan," and although the director envisions a lighthearted play, Stella brings about an entirely different result
Reviews: 7
Addled teen girl stirs up trouble at a theater in post-war England.

I've read half a dozen of Bainbridge's novels now. I've enjoyed them all to one degree or another, but this is the one I liked best. She touches greatness with this book; maybe because she drew on her own experiences. Wickedly...funny...I guess...although "funny" isn't really the right word. I don't think the English language has a word to describe the essential nature of Bainbridge's writing. She nudges you in the ribs throughout, only she uses a large kitchen knife to do the nudging, and she snaps it off at the hilt on the last page. Her books leave me torn between relief that the tension is finally broken and remorse that...um...the tension is finally broken.

Whatever this style of fiction is, if you like deeply ironic stories that keep giving you "Aha! So that's what she meant!" moments for days or weeks after you finish them, then you'll probably like this book.

On the other hand, this book is extremely confusing on a first read, for a couple of reasons. To describe one reason would be to reveal a spoiler, so I'll stay mum. Another reason is that characters are thrown into the story as if you already know who they are. It's a bit like tuning into a movie that's already half over. If you don't like that, you'll probably hate this book. A page-turner, in the sense of the typical easily-digested bestseller, it's not. This is genuine literature.

Incidentally, if you haven't read the book, and you think you know what the title means, let me assure you that you couldn't possibly be more wrong.
Beryl Bainbridge is a very black writer, and this novel (filmed with Alan Rickman, and Hugh Grant and Peter Firth both playing brilliantly against type) is a very black, sad, funny and wonderful book. It's longtime favourite of mine, but I will acknowledge that it won't be everyone's cup of tea. The writing is taut and incisive, the story is gripping and the characters are flawed and larger than life.
Abandoned Electrical
This spare little (205 pages) novel doesn't waste a word, yet signifies volumes. The highly honored Ms. Bainbridge, winner of the prestigious Whitbread Prize and short-listed (six times!) for the Booker Prize amply displays what all the fuss is about. She is that good.
The book is hard to categorize. It isn't a coming-of-age, a psychological thriller, a dazzling Peter Pan parable; it is all these things and more.
Stella raised in blue-collar, post WWII Liverpool is a troubled and troubling 15-year old who determinedly washed out of school and has been fixed up as a "student" (read gofer) at a provincial repertory company. She has no particular acting ambitions, but is certain she would be very good at it. We get a many-sided view of Stella; as she sees herself and as she is perceived by the people around her. Every scene and every word of dialogue interlocks like a jeweled timepiece. The reader is almost unaware of the ever-increasing momentum until it crashes upon you in a chilling finale. You think Ms. Bainbridge is through with you, but not quite. Just when you think you are utterly and completely emotionally drained, Ms. Bainbridge delivers a final twist, and now you know you are. I was left stunned.
An excellent example of fine prose. Highly recommended.
The Good Companions is a lovely, warm, fuzzy, well written book (a favourite of mine) about the trials, tribulations, triumphs and tragedies of a small travelling music hall company in the 1920s

Jump forwards 30 years to the setting of Bainbridge's book about the trials, tribulations, triumphs (very few) and tragedies (quite a lot) of a Liverpool repertory company. Originally published in 1989, Bainbridge draws upon some of her own experiences as an actor around that time.

Gone is Priestley's enjoyable, rather sentimental approach. Instead, we have a blackly, bleakly funny and unholy mixture of sex, love, death and religion, all wrapped up in an atmosphere of lower middle-class prurience and and things which are not quite nice and musn't be mentioned (Orton's territory)

This is the story of Stella, an awkward, difficult, naive and impressionable mid-teens. She is also adept at wearing a don't tangle with me mask, making her appear much more hard-boiled and insensitive than she really is. Strings are pulled to get her a job as an ASM in the rep company, as her imaginative, rather histrionic abilities at play-acting her way through her life, suggest to those around her that she may have a theatrical gift.

Bainbridge structures her book beautifully, setting something up at the start, which is only finally revealed at the end, when she collapses, one by one, her house of cards, with a selection of hinted at revelations which are simultaneously as bleak, horribly funny, and shocking as Orton. There is as much going on here as there are in some of the major themes of Greek tragedy, except Bainbridge does the great trick of wrapping the tragedy with absurd, comedic touches.

I'm working through re-reading Bainbridge, following my reading of the wonderful Beryl Bainbridge: Artist, Writer, Friend which connects her life, her writing and her art, and this was a wonderful re-read.
This is a phenomenal book- but it is crucial to approach it with the right mindset. This is not a light comedy, or a fantasy about the joys and agonies of growing up. The laughs to be found here are dark, and the story is painful and disturbing. It is also deeply powerful and moving, full of richly created characters and brilliantly subtle parrallels to J.M. Barrie's classic play, "Peter Pan." Do not open this one expecting anything easy, but do expect to be moved if you are willing to lose yourself inside. Highest possible recommendation.