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Jumping the Queue [Paperback]

Mary Wesley
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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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

From the Back Cover

Matilda Poliport, recently widowed, has decided to End It All. But her meticulously planned bid for graceful oblivion is foiled, and when she later foils the suicide attempt of another lost soul - Hugh Warner, on the run from the police - life begins again for both.

But life also begins to throw up nasty secrets and some awkward questions: just what was Matilda's husband Tom doing in Paris? How is the soon-to-be-knighted John (or Piers as he likes to be called) involved? Was Louise more than just a lovely daughter? And why did Hugh choose Matilda as his saviour?

Jumping the Queue, brimming over with confidence and black humour, is Mary Wesley's brilliant debut novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mary Wesley was born in 1912. Her education took her to the London School of Economics, and during the war, she worked in the War Office. She published her first novel, Jumping the Queue at the age of seventy. It was followed by nine more. Mary Wesley died in 2002.
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