Barbara Hardy

Beryl Bainbridge – The Little Killings of Everyday Life

Another Part of the Wood

By

Duckworth £4.55 order from our bookshop

Talking to Beryl Bainbridge is like reading her books – what she says is constantly intelligent, truthful, strong. Her language and her ideas are her own. The things she takes for granted and the things she emphasises are often surprising. There is a plainness, a practical professionalism, and an absence of academic self-consciousness which are like breaths of good air.

She talked to me about the new novel, Another Part of the Wood, which is a revision of her second published novel of 1968, saying she had felt that there ‘was a story’ there, which needed ‘getting out’. The sense of story and the sense of style are characteristic. About being a storyteller she is clear, enjoying the manipulation of the reader, the building of tension, the laying of false trails. The tension in this book starts early, and is highly disturbing. Little things go wrong all the time, and for everyone. A trip into the country, a friendly gathering in a camp in Flintshire, a weekend away for two couples, one married, one not, a country treat for a child of a broken marriage, an outing for a slightly retarded adolescent – everything promises well, is fuelled by a sort of sloppy goodwill, but goes sour and destructive.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,