Margaret Drabble's novels have illuminated the past fifty years, especially the changing lives of women, like no others. Yet her short fiction has its own unique brilliance. Her penetrating evocations of character and place, her wide-ranging curiosity, her sense of irony--all are on display here, in stories that explore marriage, female friendships, the English tourist abroad, love affairs with houses, peace demonstrations, gin and tonics, cultural TV programs; in stories that are perceptive, sharp, and funny. An introduction by the Spanish academic José Fernández places the stories in the context of her life and her novels. This collection is a wonderful recapitulation of a masterly career.
Emma has long played matchmaker for her friends and believes her own heart immune from the lures of love. This is a fascinating, hilarious coming-of-age tale of one woman seeking her true nature and finding true love in the process.
From the outside, Emma and David Evans have a perfect life. Emma is a sometimes-model, full-time mother, and sharply observant. David is a successful actor, who relocated the family from their London home to provincial Hereford, where he's billed to star in two plays during the city's festival season. But all is not well under the surface and it is here, far-removed from the high-brow stimulation of London, that Emma's resentment of David--his long hours at work, his expectation that she stay home with their children, his many infidelities--boils over. Bored and lonely, she falls into the arms of David's director, Wyndham Farrar, who is bewitched by his stubborn, stunning new lover. In The Garrick Year, Margaret Drabble has brilliantly painted a complicated, fascinating woman, and "her portrait of Emma is to the life" (The New Yorker).
Liz Headleand is one of London's best-known and most prominent psychiatrists. One day she arrives at work to find a mysterious package, postmarked from Cambodia. Inside, hidden amongst scraps of paper, ancient drawings, and old postcards, she discovers pieces of human finger bones. Shocked but intrigued, she realizes the papers belong to her old friend, Stephen Cox, a playwright who moved to Cambodia to work on a script about the Khmer Rouge. Convinced Stephen is trying to send her some sort of message, Liz follows the clues in the box to the jungles of Cambodia, risking her life to find her friend. In this thrilling new adventure with the heroine of The Radiant Way and A Natural Curiosity, Margaret Drabble takes us far from the civilized, familiar streets of London, painting an "urgent, brilliant" (The Boston Globe) portrait of the tumultuous, terror-ridden landscape of Cambodia in the late twentieth century.
To the privileged generation that came of age in the Sixties, the era of easy money and easier sex was like a high-stakes gamble that might just roll on forever...
Just thirty-eight-years-old, Anthony Keating's already survived both a divorce and a heart attack. He has left the BBC for the dangerous life of property speculation in the boom-and-bust 1970s, and is brooding on the oil crisis, galloping inflation and the slump in his grand house in the British countryside. His only stroke of good luck in an otherwise collapsing life is his new lover, the beautiful actress Alison Murray. But when Alison's daughter Jane is arrested while traveling in Eastern Europe, Alison rushes to try and save her, and Anthony soon follows and finds himself caught by the strife and hardships of the communist bloc. Set against a backdrop of the Cold War and the political turmoil that led England to Margaret Thatcher, The Ice Age tells the story of three people desperately seeking firm ground amidst chaos with Margaret Drabble's characteristically "high degree of intelligence and irony" (The New Yorker).
200th ANNIVERSARY EDITION Mansfield Park is named for the magnificent, idyllic estate that is home to the wealthy Bertram family and that serves as a powerful symbol of English tradition and stability. The novel's heroine, Fanny Price--a "poor relation" living with the Bertrams--is acutely conscious of her inferior status and yet she dares to love their son Edmund--from afar. With five marriageable young people on the premises, the peace at Mansfield cannot last. Courtships, entertainments, and intrigues throw the place into turmoil, and Fanny finds herself unwillingly competing with a dazzlingly witty and lovely rival. As Margaret Drabble points out in her incisive Introduction, the house becomes "full of the energies of discord--sibling rivalry, greed, ambition, illicit sexual passion, and vanity," and the novel grows ever more engrossing right up to Mansfield's final scandal and the satisfying conclusion. Unique in its moral design and its brilliant interplay of the forces of tradition and change, Mansfield Park was the first novel of Jane Austen's maturity, and the first in which the author turned her unerring eye on the concerns of English society at a time of great upheaval. With an Introduction by Margaret Drabble and an Afterword by Julia Quinn
Witty and endearingly neurotic, Kate Armstrong has hit middle-age and the mid-life crisis that goes along with it. She's a successful feminist journalist, but struggling to challenge herself at work. She's a divorcee and a mother, but her children have all left the nest. She has a lively circle of friends, but her relationships with them are complicated by years of history and failed affairs. With her "unfailing insight and intelligence" (The New York Times), Margaret Drabble shows us a woman alone in London for the first time in years, slowly rediscovering herself in a city on the brink of great change.
On April 10, 1994, PBS stations nationwide will air the first episode of a lavish six-part Masterpiece Theatre production of Eliot's brilliant work, Middlemarch, hosted by Russell Baker and produced by Louis Marks. The Modern Library is pleased to offer this official companion edition, complete with tie-in art and printed on acid-free paper. Unabridged.From the Hardcover edition.
Margaret Drabble's affecting novel, set in London during the 1960s, about a casual love affair, an unplanned pregnancy, and one young woman's decision to become a mother.
Alix Bowen and Liz Headleand have been friends since Cambridge. Now middle-aged, Alix and her husband Brian have settled in a small town in the moors of northern England. Politically liberal and attracted to the unknown, Alix has developed a friendship with a convicted murderer, having promised to help him find his long-lost mother. Liz, a successful psychiatrist and socially well-connected, has an insatiable desire to understand the psyches of strangers, while putting her own on hold. But when her sister, Shirley, makes a drastic life change, Liz is forced to turn her ever-observant eye inward, discovering things about herself she had buried deep within. In this stunning return to the beloved friends of The Radiant Way, Margaret Drabble once more shows us a world rich and wonderfully nuanced, with her singular wit and keen insight.
Simon Camish, an embittered, diffident lawyer in a loveless marriage, would not have particularly noticed Rose Vassiliou had he not been asked to drive her home one night after a dinner party. Yet at one time she had been notorious-her name constantly in the news. Now, separated from her Greek husband, she lives alone with her three children. Despite all the efforts and sneers of her friends, she refuses to move from her slum house in a decaying neighborhood to which she has become attached. Gradually, Simon becomes aware that Rose is a woman of remarkable integrity and courage. He is drawn into her affairs when her husband takes legal action to reopen the question of custody of the children-a scheme for getting his wife back. And, while the precise nature of their ties eludes him, Simon comes to realize that Rose and her Greek ex-husband are forever and inextricably bound to each other.
New package for Austen's brilliant satire of the gothic novel A sly commentary on the power of literature and a warning for women about being too innocent, here is a fresh, funny novel of a young woman receiving, as Margaret Drabble reveals in her illuminating introduction, "intensive instruction in the ways of the world."
The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws is an original and brilliant work. Margaret Drabble weaves her own story into a history of games, in particular jigsaws, which have offered her and many others relief from melancholy and depression. Alongside curious facts and discoveries about jigsaw puzzles-did you know that the 1929 stock market crash was followed by a boom in puzzle sales?-Drabble introduces us to her beloved Auntie Phyl, and describes childhood visits to the house in Long Bennington on the Great North Road, their first trip to London together, the books they read, and the jigsaws they completed. She offers penetrating sketches of her parents, siblings, and children, and shares her thoughts on the importance of childhood play, on art and writing, and on aging and memory. And she does so with her customary intelligence, energy, and wit. This is a memoir like no other.
Bessie Bawtry is a young girl living in the early 1900s in Breaseborough, a mining town in South Yorkshire, England. Unusually gifted, she longs to escape a life burdened by unquestioned tradition. She studies patiently, dreaming of the day when she will take the entrance exam for Cambridge and be able to leave her narrow world. A generation later, Bessie's daughter Chrissie feels a similar impulse to expand her horizons, which she in turn passes on to her own daughter.Nearly a century later, Bessie's granddaughter, Faro Gaulden, finds herself listening to a lecture on genetics and biological determinism. She has returned to Breaseborough and wonders at the families who remained in the humble little town where Bessie grew up. Confronted with what would have been her life had her grandmother stayed, she finds herself faced with difficult questions. Is she really so different from the plain South Yorkshire locals? As she soon learns, the past has a way of reasserting itself-not unlike the peppered moth that was once thought to be nearing extinction but is now enjoying a sudden unexplained resurgence.The Peppered Moth is a brilliantly conceived novel, full of irony, sadness, and humor.
Spirited Elizabeth Bennet is one of a family of five daughters, and with no male heir, the Bennet estate must someday pass to their priggish cousin William Collins. Therefore, the girls must marry well--and thus is launched the story of Elizabeth and the arrogant bachelor Mr. Darcy, in a novel renowned as the epitome of romance and wit. Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen's masterwork, an entertaining portrait of matrimonial rites and rivalries, timeless in its hilarity and its honesty. With an Introduction by Margaret Drabble And an Afterword by Eloisa James
Jessica Speight, a young anthropology student in 1960s London, is at the beginning of a promising academic career when an affair with her married professor turns her into a single mother. Anna is a pure gold baby with a delightful sunny nature. But as it becomes clear that Anna will not be a normal child, the book circles questions of responsibility, potential, even age, with Margaret Drabble's characteristic intelligence, sympathy, and wit.Drabble once wrote, "Family life itself, that safest, most traditional, most approved of female choices, is not a sanctuary; it is, perpetually, a dangerous place." Told from the point of view of the group of mothers who surround Jess, The Pure Gold Baby is a brilliant, prismatic novel that takes us into that place with satiric verve, trenchant commentary, and a movingly intimate story of the unexpected transformations at the heart of motherhood.
Liz Headleand, Esther Breuer, and Alix Bowen have been friends since Cambridge. Twenty-five years later, life has led them all down very different paths. Liz is a successful and well-known psychiatrist with a full social life. Esther, an eccentric bohemian, is a renowned professor of Italian art. Alix, a Socialist, teaches English in a London prison. Over the course of five years, their lives are marked by affairs, divorce, remarriage, sexual exploration, and the great political and social turmoil of London in the 1980s. In this story, "rich, various, many tentacled, chockful of life" (Margaret Atwood, Ms.), Margaret Drabble shows us a rapidly changing world from these three rich and vastly different vantage points, and the friendship that holds them all together.
Frances Wingate is one of England's most renowned archaeologists, having recently discovered a lost city in the Saharan desert. A woman who seems to have it all, Frances expertly balances her career with her four children and her lover, historian Karel Schmidt. But when Frances and Karel suddenly split, Frances throws herself into her work, finding along the way surprising connections to a family she had no idea she had. The Realms of Gold is "alive with ideas" (Anatole Broyard, The New York Times), a striking portrait of a woman searching for meaning and finding it in the most unlikely of places.
Barbara Halliwell, on a grant at Oxford, receives an unexpected package-a centuries-old memoir by a Korean crown princess. An appropriate gift indeed for her impending trip to Seoul, but Barbara doesn't know who sent it. On the plane, she avidly reads the memoir, a story of great intrigue as well as tragedy. The Crown Princess Hyegyong recounts in extraordinary detail the ways of the Korean court and confesses the family dramas that left her childless and her husband dead by his own hand. When a Korean man Barbara meets at her hotel offers to guide her to some of the haunts of the crown princess, Barbara tours the royal courts and develops a strong affinity for everything related to the princess and her mysterious life. Barbara's time in Korea goes quickly, but captivated by her experience and wanting to know more about the princess, she wonders if her life can ever be the way it was before.
Countless readers have been helped by the famous 'Babylonian parables', hailed as the greatest of all inspirational works on the subject of thrift, financial planning and personal wealth. In simple language, these fascinating and informative stories will set readers on a sure path to prosperity and its accompanying joys.
Humphrey Clark and Ailsa Kelman spent a summer together as children in Ornemouth, a town by the gray North Sea. Now, as they journey back to receive honorary degrees from a new university there-Humphrey on the train, Ailsa flying-they take stock of their lives, their careers, and their shared personal entanglements, romantic and otherwise. Humphrey is a successful marine biologist, happiest under water, but now retired; Ailsa, scholar and feminist, is celebrated for her pioneering studies of gender. Their mutual pasts unfold in an exquisite portrait of English social life in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Two sisters of opposing temperments who share the pangs of tragic love provide the theme for Jane Austen's dramatically human narrative. Their mutual suffering brings a closer understanding between the two sisters- and true love finally triumphs when sense gives way to sensibility and sensibility gives way to sense.
Candida Wilton--a woman recently betrayed, rejected, divorced, and alienated from her three grown daughters--moves from a beautiful Georgian house in lovely Suffolk to a two-room walk-up flat in a run-down building in central London. Candida is not exactly destitute. So, is the move perversity, she wonders, a survival test, or is she punishing herself? How will she adjust to this shabby, menacing, but curiously appealing city? What can happen, at her age, to change her life? And yet, as she climbs the dingy communal staircase with her suitcases, she feels both nervous and exhilarated. There is a relationship with a computer to which she now confides her past and her present. And friendships of sorts with other women--widows, divorced, never married, women straddled between generations. And then Candida's surprise inheritance . . . A beautifully rendered story, this is Margaret Drabble at her novelistic best.
Attractive and witty, Sarah has just graduated from Oxford and started a new job at the BBC. As she immerses herself in the excitement of 1960s London, her beautiful older sister, Louise, marries the famous, though admittedly difficult, novelist Stephen Halifax. Louise initially revels in the newfound wealth and glamor that her marriage affords her, but soon she finds her relationship the subject of bitter gossip and scathing tabloid headlines. Despite the distance that has always existed between the two sisters, Sarah finds herself bound to Louise as she faces the scrutiny of London society and the two begin to forge a connection they had previously thought impossible. With Margaret Drabble's signature eye for the subtleties and intricacies of everyday life, A Summer Bird-Cage is captivating, a dazzling, resonant portrait of two young women struggling to find their footing in a city as fickle as it is intoxicating.
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