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An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge
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An Awfully Big Adventure (original 1989; edition 2003)

by Beryl Bainbridge

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4021438,135 (3.59)55
Member:carolinewort
Title:An Awfully Big Adventure
Authors:Beryl Bainbridge
Info:Abacus (2003), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 208 pages
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An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge (1989)

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» See also 55 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I expected to like this more than I did. Stella annoyed me too much for me to really enjoy the novel. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
I expected to like this more than I did. Stella annoyed me too much for me to really enjoy the novel. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
Romance among the members of a small theater company. Young girl thinks she’s more sophisticated than she is. ( )
  piemouth | Oct 27, 2016 |
The Liverpool novelist Beryl Bainbridge is of course chiefly famous for always being on the Booker shortlist without ever winning (the judges posthumously gave her a special award in recognition of this): this is one of her many near misses (it lost out to [Possession] in 1990), a backstage coming-of-age novel about a teenage girl working as an ASM in a Liverpool rep theatre shortly after the end of the Second World War. As the title implies, the climax of the story comes during a production of Peter Pan, but there's also a strong hint of J.B. Priestley about the novel. That's probably inevitable if you're writing about English provincial theatres in those years, but it's also made explicit by a production of Dangerous Corner earlier in the book.

I enjoyed it, as much for the very believable backstage detail as for the story, but it does have its weaknesses. I found the two big reveals in the ending rather too predictable, and Stella a little bit too closed-up and immature to be an interesting character. Byatt probably deserved to win, but that doesn't mean it's not worth bothering with this. ( )
  thorold | Aug 11, 2015 |
Having heard much about Beryl Bainbridge after her passing the previous year (2010), I looked for some of her work.
Set in 50's, so took some work to feel part of that time. Easy to read, but complex themes and undercurrents. I can see why she has gotten such acclaim as one of best authors. As I read it seemed to call out for a movie version - which I discovered was done in 1995 - with Hugh Grant and few other now-known names.
An ending that I did NOT anticipate. Glad I didn't read ahead as I often do.
Now I'll have to find the movie.
Read in 2011 ( )
  CasaBooks | Apr 28, 2013 |
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For Yolanta and Derwent May
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When the fire curtain had been lowered and the doors were at last closed, Meredith thought he heard a child crying.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize: In postwar Liverpool, a teenager joins a theater troupe to escape her working-class life?and is drawn into a darker world. From one of Britain?s best-loved novelists, this is the story of Stella Bradshaw, an orphaned sixteen-year-old with dreams of getting out of her boardinghouse in the slums. Unwilling to resign herself to a job at Woolworth?s, she finds a place at the Liverpool Repertory Company instead. She quickly falls head over heels for the rundown theater?s dissolute director, Meredith Potter, but he has no interest in her. And Stella is too na?ve to understand why. As she tries to gain experience with other colleagues in the hope of one day seducing Meredith, the director is faced with a crisis when a cast member is injured just as the company?s production of Peter Pan is about to open. The replacement is an older man, a war hero and a prominent actor?and he?s instantly drawn to Stella. But while the romance that follows may be innocent, its implications are far from wholesome. Named by the Times (London) as one of the (3zsfifty greatest British writers since 1945,(3y sauthor Beryl Bainbridge portrays working-class England in the aftermath of World War II with her signature dark humor and dry wit. Adapted into a 1995 film starring Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman, An Awfully Big Adventure is an atmospheric historical novel about the loss of innocence with a definitively modern?and chilling?twist. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Beryl Bainbridge including rare images from the author?s estate.… (more)

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