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Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald
  

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Winner of the Booker Prize 1979. 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.

Click here to read Penelope Fitzgerald's son-in-law discuss her legacy to coincide with the 100th anniversary of her birth.

If you like Penelope Fitzgerald you might also like to read books by Esther Freud and Anita Brookner.

Synopsis

Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald

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.

Reviews

Praise for Penelope Fitzgerald and 'Offshore':

'An astonishing book. Hardly more than 50,000 words, it is written with a manic economy that makes it seem even shorter, and with a tamped-down force that continually explodes in a series of exactly controlled detonations. Offshore is a marvellous achievement: strong, supple, humane, ripe, generous and graceful.
Bernard Levin, Sunday Times

'She writes the kind of fiction in which perfection is almost to be hoped for, unostentatious as true virtuosity can make it, its texture a pure pleasure.'
Frank Kermode, London Review of Books

'Perfectly balanced...the novelistic equivalent of a Turner watercolour.'
Washington Post

'Reading a Penelope Fitzgerald novel is like being taken for a ride in a peculiar kind of car. Everything is of top quality - the engine, the coachwork and the interior all fill you with confidence. Then, after a mile or so, someone throws the steering-wheel out of the window.'
Sebastian Faulks

'This Booker prize winner is a slightly dark, witty novel ... The brilliant Fitzgerald takes a subtle squint at thwarted love, loneliness and the human need to be necessary'
Val Hennessy, Daily Mail

About the Author

Penelope Fitzgerald

Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most elegant and distinctive voices in British fiction. She was the author of nine novels, three of which – The Bookshop, The Beginning of Spring and The Gate of Angels – were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She won the prize in 1979 for Offshore. Her last novel, The Blue Flower, was the most admired novel of 1995, chosen no fewer than nineteen times in the press as the 'Book of the Year'. It won America's National Book Critics' Circle Award, and this helped introduce her to a wider international readership.

A superb biographer and critic, Penelope Fitzgerald was also the author of lives of the artist Edward Burne-Jones (her first book), the poet Charlotte Mew and The Knox Brothers – a study of her remarkable father Edmund Knox, editor of Punch, and his equally remarkable brothers.

Penelope Fitzgerald did not embark on her literary career until the age of sixty. After graduating from Somerville College, Oxford, she worked at the BBC during the war, edited a literary journal, ran a bookshop and taught at various schools, including a theatrical school; her early novels drew upon many of these experiences.

She died in April 2000, at the age of eighty-three.

Click here to read Penelope Fitzgerald's son-in-law discuss her legacy to coincide with the 100th anniversary of her birth.

Fellow novelist Katharine McMahon on Penelope Fitzgerald...

I was introduced to this author just as I began to be published, and I love her wit, and her quirky approach to plot. The Beginning of Spring is a delicious novel, and it's as if the entire book is pitched towards the very last few lines. This reads like a small, perfectly formed, Russian novel, but amazingly is written by a very English author.

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Book Info

Publication date

20th August 2009

Author

Penelope Fitzgerald

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Publisher

Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Paperback
208 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Relationship Stories
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780007320967

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