Friday, 2 July 2010

Another Good Writer Gone

The death of Beryl Bainbridge is sad news - a nice appreciation here. The smoking finally caught up with her, I suppose - after she'd given up - as with all those lifelong drunks who suddenly keel over the minute they foreswear the sauce. Another good - really good - writer gone, and one who never took herself too seriously. That she never won the Booker is more a recommendation than anything (Penelope Fitzgerald inadvertently won it one year, but that doesn't make her a lesser writer). It was pleasing to see how much time the BBC News devoted to her death. A pity the clunking obit credited her with a novel called The Bottle Opening Factory. She'd have laughed though.


  1. Oh I love that 'bottle opening.' We'll all be there with her!
    I remember hearing a radio interview with her, not so long ago. She was clearly depressed - 'Does anyone really care whether I write another damned book, or not?' I wanted to shout. 'I do!' I'm sure I wasn't alone.
    I'm looking forward to re-reading her novels - some read far too early in life to really appreciate that wonderful dark humour.

  2. I've never read her. Which one should I start with?

  3. I'm worried about Christopher Hitchens too.

  4. Me neither Brit. I'm going to start with According to Queenie, the Dr Johnson novel. Isn't that where you'd want to start, given your interest in the great man?

  5. Sounds about right, Gaw.

    It has just occured to me that Nige reads more female novelists than any other man I know.