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Jumping the Queue Paperback – Jul 25 2006


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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist



Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (July 25 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099499150
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099499152
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 141 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,047,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Late-bloomer Wesley published this first novel in Britain at the age of 70a fact that explains the breadth of experience reflected here. As a practical decision, Matilda Poliport, middle-aged and recently widowed, is preparing at the story's outset to commit suicide before the trials of old age can beset her. But she is temporarily thwarted by an encounter with a highly publicized gentleman murderer on the runa matricide, in fact. Matilda whimsically decides to shelter the otherwise sympathetic killer for a few days and agrees to abet his escape to the Continent. Within their brief, strangers-on-a-train-like intimacy, Matilda talks frankly about her life, while the matricide remains strangely silent about his odious crime. However, what the reader learns about Matilda is far more than she admits to herself. Wesley leaves us wondering about the limits of human knowing and what anyone can ever finally determine about either the past or one's true motivations. Reality in this contemporary novel remains an open system. The rub is that Matilda, on the one hand, is remarkably self-aware but, on the other, not only self-deluding but also the victim of a reductive imagination, outright lies and withheld or fragmentary informationpitfalls, the novel suggests, that await the reader of this or any other narrative, be it fiction or so-called fact. The novel is delivered in a bright, sparkling style, full of witty asides on the fatuity of modern culture and mores, all the better to underscore its dark themes.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"I loved it for its extraordinary combination of despair and wild black humour" -- Julia Blackburn "Great verve and inventiveness" Times Literary Supplement "A virtuoso performance of guileful plotting, deft characterisation and malicious wit" The Times "Quriky, sexy and deeply fascinating" -- Sheila Hancock

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All week Gus had been fussed by Matilda's unusual activity. Read the first page
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Format: Paperback
Jumping the Queue is an unusually crafted story that begins with Matilda Poliport's attempt to end her life thwarted by timing, a non-event which sets the tone for the whole tale. Mary Wesley describes Matilda's environs with exquisite word pictures: her cottage, her neighbors, town. When matricide Hugh Warner stumbles into Matilda's life, things take an interesting turn, and they keep turning that way till the end. Jumping the Queue is an extraordinary story whose ending surprised me, and I'm hard to fool.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Mary Wesley, recently passed on, great writer Jan. 17 2003
By pen and paper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The marvelous Mary Wesley passed away a few weeks ago. She was 90. She did not begin publishing until she reached her 70's. She wrote witty social comedy with depth and tenderness and could spin a wicked plot. This was her first novel. I had the pleasure of discovering her when Arts & Entertainment, a TV station, broadcast "Harnessing Peacocks," which was my favorite of her novels. I binged on her work in the 90's, reading one after another. Now that she's gone, I shall reread them all.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Odd tale ends with a surprise. March 8 2001
By Helen Collins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Jumping the Queue is an unusually crafted story that begins with Matilda Poliport's attempt to end her life thwarted by timing, a non-event which sets the tone for the whole tale. Mary Wesley describes Matilda's environs with exquisite word pictures: her cottage, her neighbors, town. When matricide Hugh Warner stumbles into Matilda's life, things take an interesting turn, and they keep turning that way till the end. Jumping the Queue is an extraordinary story whose ending surprised me, and I'm hard to fool.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Living Your Life June 2 2013
By prisrob - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have recently found Mary Wesley and her novels. How I missed this marvelous writer will remain a mystery. I am such a fan of Muriel Sparks, and Mary Wesley is of that genre. Mary Wesley, however, does not hold back, and her writing is more defined.

Matilda Poliport is a relatively new widow, three years. Mid fifties with white hair, attractive and younger looking than she appears. Matilda is tired, tired of her life, her husband has died, her children don't visit much, her dog died, and all she has left is a gander, Gus. She plans to end her life, she cleans her home from top to bottom,puts her best sheets on the beds, writes a good-bye, lists her assets and where they should go. She is ready. But then, fate steps in, and her plans go awry.

Matilda decides to wait another month and then complete her plans. While on a stroll by the sea, she stops a young man from jumping in. Ironic? This man known as The Matricide, has killed his mother. She takes him in, settling him in her home. They develop a relationship and disclose their inner most secrets, but not all of them. After all, what do either them have to lose? We hear about Matilda's children and she lets us know she finds animals much easier to love. Hgh, the Matricide,we discover, is a pleasant young man with his own devils. Matilda's neighbors, her friends in London, her children and finally her husband, are all part and parcel of the end of the world for Matilda. She seems more settled now, but, then, there are many twists and turns.

I found this novel to be quite provocative and certainly one that gave me a great deal to think about. Mary Wesley may have had these same feelings. growing old is not for the faint of heart. This is a novel surprising in it's honesty and a stickler for detail. I could see the cottage, the town and Matilda in my mind's eye. Matilda was an irritation at times, but I did like her so! This was Mary Wesley's first novel, and off she went!

Highly Recommended. prisrob 06-02-13
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Jumping the Queua Jan. 10 2013
By Angela - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love and have read everything Mary Wesley has written. Unusually some I have read more than once. I don't know how I missed this one. Thank you Amazon.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Simply brilliant! Oct. 15 2012
By Marlene S Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Apart from the brilliant writing, quirky plots and razor sharp wit, you never quite know what you're in for when you pick up a Mary Wesley novel...she is a master of her craft. When Matilda's plan to jump the queue was abandoned, I found myself thinking, how lovely, a mature woman's romance with a younger man. It wasn't until Folly met his maker that I figured there was going to be an unexpected twist. And what a twist! No clandestine rendezvous in Prague, no Matricide returning with his tail between his legs proclaiming undying love, no brother confessing to murder and freeing-up Hugh to start a new life together with Matilda, none of the happy endings I had imagined. Instead, I was stunned and disturbed by Wesley's finale. It wasn't until I reflected on the story, after I got over the shock of the ending, that I realised why I felt so disturbed. Matilda was dealing with what many women have to face, the gradual loss of connectedness to life as we age. Children grow up - and these days, often move away, the husband dies (or maybe finds a new love interest), people we have known move on, or away...and we end up with pets for company. Admittedly, Matilda's solution to her predicament was extreme but it certainly wasn't far fetched. Mary Wesley was no stranger to loss and grief during her life and I suspect Jumping the Queue reflects Mary's own experience of grappling with matters of existential moment. I found this novel to be a brilliant read and certainly one that has provoked a great deal of thought and self-reflection. I would recommend this book to anyone brave enough to contemplate their later years.

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