HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

According to Queeney (2001)

by Beryl Bainbridge

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5981933,483 (3.34)42
Bainbridges brilliantly imagined, universally acclaimed, Booker Prize-longlisted novel portrays the inordinate appetites and unrequited love touched off when the most celebrated man of eighteenth-century English letters, Samuel Johnson, enters the domain of a wealthy Southwark brewer and his wife, Hester Thrale. The melancholic, middle-aged lexicographer plunges into an increasingly ambiguous relationship with the vivacious Mrs. Thrale for the next twenty years. In that time Hesters eldest daughter, the neglected but prodigiously clever Queeney, will grow into young womanhood. Along the way, little of the emotional tangle and sexual tension stirring beneath the decorous surfaces of the Thrale household will escape Queeneys cold, observant eye. A dark, often hilarious and deeply human vision ... a major literary accomplishment.Margaret Atwood, Toronto Globe and Mail ...at the end of this luminous little novel ... we feel two losses ... the personal one and the loss to civilization.Richard Bernstein, New York Times Dialogue and descriptions subtly and skillfully convey a sense not only of the period but also the personalities.Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times Bainbridges] most accomplished novel so far.Washington Post Book World Majestically deft.... Absolutely wonderful.Kirkus Reviews (starred)… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 42 mentions

English (18)  French (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
This novel may possibly have had a greater impact on me if I knew anything about the life and times of Samuel Johnson apart from the fact that he wrote a dictionary, and of course that the Life of Samuel Johnson was written by Boswell. But I’ve never read it, and so am unfamiliar with Johnson, apart from the broadest of strokes. But while I may be lacking some of that knowledge I still really enjoyed this book.

We see a much different Johnson here than the one I’ve heard of, not a lot of genius showing, more depression and self-absorption.

The Queeney of the title is a child for much of the book, her mother and father have, in many ways, taken Johnson into their family and it is through this family, the Thrale’s that we see Johnson.

There are also letters interspersed with the story, Queeney’s written in adulthood to a cousin looking for information about Johnson. But the main part of the book is not specifically from Queeney’s POV, and this allows us to learn how wrong a lot of what Queeney thought about her mother Hester, was wrong.

This is an amusing little book, full of lines that’ll make you smile. Easy to read, and full of insights and interesting sentences. However, I never really got a sense of time from the book. The characters could have been from any era, not just that of Georgian England. Still, well worth a read. ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
I think you need to be at least a little familiar with Samuel Johnson to appreciate this book, but if you do I think it's a nice window onto him and his world. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
'Clever' rather than enjoyable or illuminating, Bainbridge concocts a believable picture of Johnson's life with the Thrales, told from a variety of perspectives. Sadly the book focuses on the pettiness and cruelty of its protagonists – their rivalries and domestic bickering – and dwells unnecessarily on the crude and salacious. A missed opportunity. ( )
  Lirmac | Jun 28, 2018 |
This is the second Beryl Bainbridge novel I've read, and I know I'll be reading many more. Because she writes in historical settings and, at least from what I've seen, about very English characters, one has to be willing not to have every detail and reference at hand while reading. One has to be willing to read up at least a little on the central characters (in this case, Samuel Johnson and Hester Thrale) or the central even (in Master Georgie, it was the Crimean War) to best appreciate the nuances of the story, though not to understand the story itself. Other writers might take two or three times as many words to tell the same story, but Bainbridge is careful and spare in her choice of words, making her unusual in the world of historical fiction. To my mind, it also makes her superior.

While the historical backdrop is important, but it merely provides the framework for what Bainbridge does most brilliantly, and that is to grant the reader multiple viewpoints on the same events through the eyes of several key characters. The result is that one comes away with a fuller understanding of the story than do any of the characters, while at the same time gaining insight into the pervasive effect of subjectivity in interpreting one's life. None of Bainbridge's characters, no matter how brilliant or how practical, escapes influence of their subjective interpretations of events. To some degree, even the reader is implicated, because the revelations of these varying interpretations come about by degrees, so we are spared a tedious omniscient narrator's view of the characters and events. Bainbridge's doubled and sometimes tripled views of events emerge slowly over the course of the novel, and the insights are all the more rewarding for the delay and the reliance on the reader's memory to fill in the gaps.

The plot of the book is much less important than the manner in which events unfold. In short, the novel covers primarily the twenty-year period in which Samuel Johnson was an intimate friend of Henry and Hester Thrale's. But as Bainbridge is a psychological novelist masquerading as a historical novelist, the real story takes place in the characters' relating to one another and revealing the passions, desires, and fears that drive them. ( )
  phredfrancis | Feb 8, 2014 |
Could not see the point of it all. Well written but could hardly be called a novel. Would have preferred an actual biography. ( )
  bergs47 | Feb 22, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
To Andrew and Margaret Hewson, with affection and gratitude
First words
On the morning of the 15th December, 1784, a day of bleak skies heralding snow, a box-cart rattled into Bolt Court and drew up outside No. 8.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Bainbridges brilliantly imagined, universally acclaimed, Booker Prize-longlisted novel portrays the inordinate appetites and unrequited love touched off when the most celebrated man of eighteenth-century English letters, Samuel Johnson, enters the domain of a wealthy Southwark brewer and his wife, Hester Thrale. The melancholic, middle-aged lexicographer plunges into an increasingly ambiguous relationship with the vivacious Mrs. Thrale for the next twenty years. In that time Hesters eldest daughter, the neglected but prodigiously clever Queeney, will grow into young womanhood. Along the way, little of the emotional tangle and sexual tension stirring beneath the decorous surfaces of the Thrale household will escape Queeneys cold, observant eye. A dark, often hilarious and deeply human vision ... a major literary accomplishment.Margaret Atwood, Toronto Globe and Mail ...at the end of this luminous little novel ... we feel two losses ... the personal one and the loss to civilization.Richard Bernstein, New York Times Dialogue and descriptions subtly and skillfully convey a sense not only of the period but also the personalities.Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times Bainbridges] most accomplished novel so far.Washington Post Book World Majestically deft.... Absolutely wonderful.Kirkus Reviews (starred)

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.34)
0.5 2
1 4
1.5
2 10
2.5 2
3 40
3.5 12
4 34
4.5 2
5 10

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 176,926,065 books! | Top bar: Always visible