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An Awfully Big Adventure: A Novel [Paperback]

Beryl Bainbridge
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1993
Told with black humour, this is the story of a group of no-hope rep actors in Liverpool in the mid 50s, doing Peter Pan. Stella, the heroine who is Tinkerbell, is a sad and lonely young woman who repeatedly calls the speaking clock for comfort.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This novel of the theater scene in 1950s Liverpool follows a young actress who becomes romantically involved with a director.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.


*'Vintage bittersweet Bainbridge' MAIL ON SUNDAY *'Imagine Priestley's THE GOOD COMPANIONS as written by Gogol and you will have some idea of the mixture of waggish humour and sordid pathos in Bainbridge's novel' SUNDAY TIMES *'A subtle schizophrenic insight into adult relationships . Bainbridge's understated prose and obsessive eye for the smallest and most telling of details have never been better employed' TIME OUT --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Stella that I could relate to. It's a quick read and definitely worth picking up. It's a very secretive book, much like its heroine. She's a strange one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Jan. 23 2002
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Bainbridge's Best Dec 9 2001
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.
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2.0 out of 5 stars An Awfully Awful Adventure Dec 11 2000
This dark and dreary book set in post war Liverpool(mid-50s) is really drawn out and confusing. The story is that of Stella, a sixteen year old actress, as she learns the hard way where acting stops and reality begins. She chases the director, and in trying to get his love, romances an aging actor who turns out to be her father. Tha characters are poorly developed past names, except for Stella, but she unfortunately, is hard to follow. She doesn't act normally, and the reader is left to puzzle over her. Near the end of the novel, we find that she was abandoned by her mother as a baby and is left with the deep physcoloical scars. This book loses the reader on page one, making it hard for the reader to want to fumble through it.
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