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Author: Beryl Bainbridge
ISBN13: 978-0715614587
Title: Another Part of the Wood
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ePUB size: 1357 kb
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Publisher: Duckworth; First American Edition edition (1979)
Pages: 176

Another Part of the Wood by Beryl Bainbridge

Introduction Like all Beryl Bainbridge’s novels, Another Part of the Wood sets off at a cracking pace, and never slows down. We find ourselves immediately in a strange setting – a camp consisting of huts and bunkhouses in a wood at the foot of a mountain somewhere in Wales. George, the son of the family who own the estate, and Balfour, his assistant, are awaiting the arrival of Joseph. George regards Joseph as a great thinker and hopes to have some serious tête-à-têtes about Art.

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Start by marking Another Part Of The Wood as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read. The suspense of the book lies in not knowing quite which consequences, although Bainbridge quickly sets several hares running. Set in the early Swinging Sixties, the permissive zeitgeist has clearly not yet impinged upon Bainbridge's odd cast, who Take a clutch of disparate characters out of their usual comfort zones, plant them in a primitive woodland camp for an uncomfortably long weekend, and watch as their foibles and vulnerabilities collide and interweave with predictably dire consequences. Dame Beryl Margaret Bainbridge DBE was an English writer from Liverpool. She was primarily known for her works of psychological fiction, often set among the English working classes. Bainbridge won the Whitbread Award twice and was nominated for the Booker Prize five times.

About book: A motley group - two couples, a kid, a special-needs obesity case, a couple on-site hands - roughs it together (well there are cabins) on holiday in the Welsh woods. But as the cold winds blow and an evasive bottle of meds goes rogue, everything falls apart. This is all likely an elusive allegory (key characters are named Balfour, Gosling, and Roland), and even with the hair-raising descent into misanthropy and spite, there's something very structurally satisfying about the novel

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I bought this book after hearing of the death of the author, Beryl Bainbridge. Well, sorry to say, I found it a thoroughly depressing and boring read. It was a significant year. The book's vintage shows through via passing reference to recognisable ephemera. Beryl Bainbridge's forté is the presentation and juxtaposition of characters. In many ways, the discovery of their relationships is the plot.

Social dysfunction meets dangerous perversion in this black comedy about two misfit families camping in the Welsh woods. George McFarley, a six-foot-eight hulk of a man obsessed with the Holocaust, and his assistant, Balfour, an unbearably shy stutterer, are the unconventional hosts of a weekend camping retreat in Wales. Their guests include Joseph, a divorced college administrator from London; Dotty, his pretty but resentful girlfriend; Roland, his young son; and Kidney, his overweight and emotionally disturbed apprentice

Reviews: 4
Like another reviewer, I also came to read this book upon learning of the author's death. Never having read any of her books before, I picked an early work, figuring that you can often best judge an author on the basis of an early work, before the wave of Fame hit her in full.

To some extent, I was rewarded. Beryl Bainbridge's style of writing is striking - unforgettable. I know, one talks of "voice" these days but I prefer the old-fashioned term "writing style". Her command of the language is such that it evokes all the nuances of this holiday retreat, as seen from each character's point of view - ranging from the falsity of this " forced return to nature" for some to outright love for this way of life, far from the madding crowd for others.

This is a "slice of life" novel, 1960s style. And that, unfortunately, is what makes it dated. One would wish more to bring the 1960s to life, so that you know what period of history you're dealing with. You also find yourself wishing for a faster moving plot rather than the slow, psychological unfolding of non-events you are presented with here. The surprise ending - which was very fashionable then - is nice and wakes you up, but it is not enough to save the book from a 3 star rating.
I bought this book after hearing of the death of the author, Beryl Bainbridge. Well, sorry to say, I found it a thoroughly depressing and boring read.
Another Part Of The Wood by Beryl Bainbridge first appeared in 1968. It was a significant year. The book's vintage shows through via passing reference to recognisable ephemera. Characters rejoice in wearing flared trousers, for instance, and remark when P J Proby sings on the car radio. Quaint, wasn't it?

There's a holiday retreat in the north Wales hills. There are some cabins in the wood. They offer what would sound like very basic accommodation in today's terms. But back in the 1960s, when foreign package holidays were still not the norm and no more likely encountered than a week in a caravan at Flamborough, the holiday-makers in the book no doubt looked forward to the experience. It was then, as now, a trip back to nature.

Beryl Bainbridge's forté is the presentation and juxtaposition of characters. In many ways, the discovery of their relationships is the plot. So it does not help the prospective reader if I give a detailed description of them in a review. But a cursory glance at them reveals how, after more than forty years, their identities and their concerns have remained remarkably modern.

There's a couple of families. There's marriage and not marriage. There are children, both vulnerable and exploitative. There are flashbacks to a wartime experience that still makes everyday life hard to bear long before the term "post-combat stress disorder" had passed a campaigner's lips. There is both pride and fear wrapped together. There are others who can't cope with who they are. Someone is overweight. How modern can you get? Someone else stammers when over-wrought. There is someone who is easily led, and someone who wants to lead. There are people getting away from it all, and other who actively want to seek out experience. There are those who regard the rural area as a threat because of its lack of urban familiarity, and then there are those for whom it is a liberation. While a family argues over a game of Monopoly, someone almost burns down the real estate. There's even more going on under the surface.

A contemporary reader might find the obvious lack of linear plot somewhat confusing. Reading Beryl Bainbridge is a bit like sitting on the sea. Waves come with regularity. They are all different, but eventually a pattern emerges. And it's a pattern where all the usual - and remarkable - human traits can be found. The final act may be over-played, but the experience is lasting, just as long as it lasts. It's a bit like life, actually.
This is one of the earliest of Ms. Bainbridge's works that I have read. It differs from the more familiar of her works in that it does not take place during a notable period of History, or during an event of Historic note. This time the cast is limited and she has isolated them at a sort of country retreat. The interaction amongst the group is the focus this time, not a group that is coping with each other in addition to events of great magnitude.
Most of the people on this Holiday are less than welcome guests. Many are present as a result of those who were invited taking the liberty of inviting their own guests as well. The group includes adults that are either odd bordering on eccentricity, relationships that are all dysfunctional, and two adolescents that are caught in their midst. To be more specific there is one male egomaniac, and a second male that is as creative with the truth as his egocentric counterpart.
My only thoughts as to what the Author was getting at would center primarily on the two young boys. One is a son and deemed normal; the other is a sort of foster child that is assigned a variety of labels, none that are flattering. It is the boys and their actions that eventually take over the story, and the adults remain oblivious to what is unfolding.
The book does make a dramatic point as all her works do, it is just that this one is either a bit more opaque in approaching her ending, or I missed something along the way. I have read enough of her work to feel confident it is not the latter, but that will be for others to decide for themselves.