Penelope Fitzgerald's Booker Prize-winning novel of loneliness and connecting is set among the houseboat community of the Thames and has a new introduction from Alan Hollinghurst.
On Battersea Reach, a mixed bag of the temporarily lost and the patently eccentric live on houseboats, rising and falling with the tide of the Thames.
There is good-natured Maurice, by occupation a male prostitute, by chance a receiver of stolen goods. And Richard, an ex-navy man whose boat, much like its owner, dominates the Reach.
Then there is Nenna, an abandoned wife and mother of two young girls running wild on the muddy foreshore, whose domestic predicament, as it deepens, will draw this disparate community together.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 208 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 20/08/2009
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780007320967
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by katelnorth
I've read a good handful of Booker Prize winners* and I've very mixed feelings about them in general - some I thought were fantastic (Wolf Hall, Life of Pi, Last Orders, Possession, God of Small Things) and some I really disliked (notably Vernon God Little, but also, not convinced about The Inheritance of Loss and In the Line of Beauty). This one falls into the category of a book I thought was well constructed and a pleasure to read, but am I really sure it's a Booker Prize Winner? Admittedly, I'm not sure what it was up against, but it seems a bit small and spare to have scooped such an accolade; then again, perhaps its charm lies in the spareness, which is in some ways illusory, as so much more is happening than what lies on the surface.*Because I am obsessive, I've checked and found I've read or tried to read 19 of a possible 46, which isn't too bad, in terms of making generalisations about the prize! I've read loads more things which were on the shortlists...
Review by charlie68
Echoes of Dickens and Conrad, this book is an enveloping read. Introduces the reader to life on a boat in the Thames during the early sixties. The ending is sudden and leaves the reader hanging. It ends to soon.