Every Man for Himself
By (author) Beryl Bainbridge
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Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge
Book DescriptionFor the four fraught, mysterious days of her doomed maiden voyage in 1912, the Titanic sails towards New York, glittering with luxury, freighted with millionaires and hopefuls. In her labyrinthine passageways are played out the last, secret hours of a small group of passengers, their fate sealed in prose of startling, sublime beauty, as Beryl Bainbridge's haunting masterpiece moves inexorably to its known and terrible end.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780349108704
(198mm x 127mm x 14mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 2-Oct-1997
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
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The classic first novel that acclaimed author Beryl Bainbridge ever had published, in 1967, A Weekend with Claude is a wickedly funny portrait of frustrated middle-class lives.
UK Kirkus Review » Beryl Bainbridge enthralled us with the account of Captain Scott's expedition to the South Pole and here we are with another ill-fated voyage, the maiden voyage of HMS Titanic to New York in 1912. The fact that we know how it will all end in no way detracts from this scintillating novel. The narrator is the nephew of the owner of the shipping line sailing the Titanic. During the four days before disaster strikes we are given glimpses of his troubled past, learn of his ambitions for the future and watch helplessly as he falls for a money-digging American woman who is far more interested in bedding the rich and well-connected men on board. The author vividly conveys the enclosed world, the white-tie dinners, the squash courts and reading rooms and the characters which inhabit them, schemers, dreamers, snobs and social climbers. This tale is a parable - we are all heading blithely to our doom while the band plays on - but it is never clunking. Bainbridge is writing at the top of her talent. A soon as you have finished the book, you will want to read it again, and discover new depths, deeper waters. Booker shortlist 1996. (Kirkus UK)
US Kirkus Review » The 1912 maiden voyage of the Titanic - not played for the usual melodrama but used, half-successfully, as the backdrop for the coming-of-age story of a well-connected, uncertain young man. Harvard grad Morgan has plenty to be uncertain about. His early childhood was a blur of poverty, abandonment, and abuse - all ended when he was rescued, Dickens-style, by the family of his millionaire uncle-by-marriage (apparently J.P. Morgan himself). As a result, Morgan has grown up in great wealth but is still haunted by bygone scandal and loss. Now, having worked as an apprentice draughtsman at the London firm that designed the wondrous Titanic, Morgan is heading home to New York on the luxury liner - a floating metaphor (with its glamorous topdecks and steerage squalor below), for his layered identity. By the time disaster strikes, Morgan's world has already been upended. He has timidly attempted his first amour - only to find that the cool socialite he worships is engaged in a seemingly loveless affair with a middle-aged man-of-the-world (whom Morgan has seen as a surrogate father). Disturbed by the ill treatment of the ship's crew, he questions the values of his glittery, hypocritical circle - and frets over his lack of direction. So, when the shipwreck comes, it's a chance for Morgan to prove himself - and to see how certain social and moral attitudes play out in the face of crisis and death. Bainbridge doesn't always find the perfect balance between Morgan's introspective story (only intermittently affecting) and the familiar Titanic epic, and this lacks the gripping quality of her finest historical fictions (Young Adolf, 1979; The Birthday Boys, 1994). But her gift for lean yet resonant narration - vivid details and images, startling dialogue, telling anecdotes - remains one of modern fiction's marvels, and at its best this bildungsroman-at-sea (with more than a few echoes of Conrad) casts a dark, doomy spell. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Beryl Bainbridge
Beryl Bainbridge wrote seventeen novels, two travel books and five plays for stage and television, she was shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, and won literary awards including the Whitbread Prize and the Author of the Year Award at the British Book Awards. She died in July 2010.
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