Stoddard Martin

Every Woman for Herself

Beryl Bainbridge: Love by All Sorts of Means – A Biography

By

Bloomsbury 564pp £25 order from our bookshop

Beryl Bainbridge’s best novels are hardly more than novellas: Injury Time (1977) runs to 158 generously spaced pages, Every Man for Himself (1996) to only a few dozen more. Her early books are black comedies in an autobiographical vein, featuring teenage girls in the north of England and single mums in scruffy 1970s London. Later ‘historical’ books focus on moments of crisis for a decaying imperial Britain and offer moral solutions without appearing didactic. That Bainbridge was not at home in the international sphere was apparent in her last effort, set in late 1960s America and incomplete at her death. While she worked at extending her range in place as well as in time, setting tales in Antarctica, on the Titanic and in Crimea, it was always personality and national identity that absorbed her, and the earthy and shrewd aspects of her oeuvre are what will continue to give pleasure to readers.

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

    • 'To be clever without wanting to glory in it, put dimmer people down or make an act of covering it up (viz Boris Jo… ,
    • 'Her favourite design included a body in the shape of a horse, with a steam engine inside ... The passenger would t… ,
    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,