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English Journey by Beryl Bainbridge

English Journey (original 1984; edition 1984)

by Beryl Bainbridge

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833145,226 (2.96)5
Title:English Journey
Authors:Beryl Bainbridge
Info:BBC (1984), Hardcover
Collections:Your library

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English Journey: Or the Road to Milton Keynes by Beryl Bainbridge (1984)


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Writers need to make money, and they sometimes must do jobs they really don't like doing. Ms Bainbridge 1983 television production seems to be a good example. The book, seems a written diary of the film production. The tone is disinterested, and annoyed throughout. Either the writer or the country, or both were going through a depression. Ms Bainbridge is negative about anything, everything and all.

Surely the economic crisis of the early 80ties, under Thatcher, was bleak. That bleakness shows in every corner, and on every page.

Copyright for the book is registered in 1984. One wonders what makes a publisher put the book on the market in 1997, fifteen years later.

An awful book to read. ( )
  edwinbcn | Dec 9, 2009 |
This is the ‘book of the TV series’ (which I did not see), a genre which has produced some wonderfully written books, think of Jacob Bronowski, Kenneth Clark and others more recent. Alas, this ‘diary’ is of a different order, though in fairness, it makes little claim to be much more than what it is.
For me the book disappoints on two levels. First: The ‘journey’ follows in the footsteps of J. B. Priestly on his tour of England in 1933, yet fails to contrast or compare – in any meaningful way, with that earlier journey, or to provide any extrapolative relationship from past to present. Anyone with an interest in the upheavals in social history over the intervening half-century will find little meat here. And secondly: the writing is rather dull, viz: ‘‘I was taken over the factory by David Redway and a lady called Miss Purchase. They were both helpful and informative.’ Well that’s good to know. But readers might have hoped that a nicotine addict on a tour of a cigarette factory would have found something to say with more of a kick to it than that.
The best of the book comes from the authors return to Liverpool and her home ground. Now here the ‘journey’ really does come alive and provides a canvas for some fine evocative writing about childhood and place, captivating and interesting and rich material for a far better book. (It may have been written by now)? Sometimes the arrival makes the journey worthwhile! ( )
  summonedbyfells | May 11, 2007 |
Bainbridge and a team from BBC TV retraced the steps of J.B. Priestley who had described the same route fifty years before in "English Journey". She laments the loss of the very things he despised, and hates the new concrete buildings and motorways.
  gibbon | Nov 25, 2005 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Beryl Bainbridgeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Helmond, Joop vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786704209, Paperback)

In 1983 Beryl Bainbridge and crew embarked on a BBC-sponsored tour from Southampton up through Manchester, then on to Milton Keynes, mirroring the route taken by J.B. Priestley in his 1933 classic, English Journey. Bainbridge pegs the British people just right, and notes the small details, such as the hundreds of starlings "perched in rows like black door-knobs" on the roof and gables of Bradford's Town Hall. She takes England's pulse, compares it to the England her family knew and to Priestley's reports of 50 years before, providing depth and poignancy to her sharp, amusing perceptions.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:09 -0400)

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