The Means of Escape

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9780007105014: The Means of Escape

A collection of Penelope Fitzgerald’s short stories.

Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most highly-regarded writers on the English literary scene. Apart from Iris Murdoch, no other writer has been shortlisted so many times for the Booker. Her last novel, ‘The Blue Flower’, was the book of its year, garnering extraordinary acclaim in Britain, America and Europe.

This superb collection of stories, originally published in anthologies and newspapers, shows Penelope Fitzgerald at her very best. From the tale of a young boy in 17-century England who loses a precious keepsake and finds it frozen in a puddle of ice, to that of a group of buffoonish amateur Victorian painters on a trip to Brittany, these stories are characteristically wide ranging, enigmatic and very funny. They are each miniature studies of the endless absurdity of human behaviour.

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Review:

Penelope Fitzgerald said: "I do leave a lot out and trust the reader really to be able to understand it. My books are about twice the length when they're first finished, but I cut all of it out. It's just an insult to explain everything."

There are just eight stories in Penelope Fitzgerald's last book "The means Of Escape" but they are as invigorating and surprising as the novels. There is "The Axe", a tale of office life, redundancy and "a visitant which should not be walking but buried in the earth". The sense of the uncanny is also present in "Desideratus", where a young 17th-century boy loses a keepsake and then finds it in the hand of a cold-handed boy in the dark upper floors of a house called Watching. Fitzgerald's characters are also painfully, peculiarly real. Their foibles and eccentricities are described with a crisp truthfulness. The title story tells of a woman's encounter with a masked convict in a church. Alice smuggles him food, and the convict promises: "wait and trust, give me time, and I will send for you". He stows away, ironically, on a ship named Constancy, with Alice's housekeeper Mrs. Watson whose "motives for doing what she did--which taking into her account her intense affection for Alice, must have been complex enough--were never set down, and can only be guessed at".

Fitzgerald's novels are short; carefully researched details are used sparingly to create atmosphere and a historical context in her later fiction, whilst her earlier work drew on situations from her own life. But all her work has a fierce moral perspective, which isn't always easy to accept. Reading her fiction is like skating across a cool, elegant surface, and suddenly being plunged into icy, mysterious depths. Her prose style may be cunningly simple, but her meaning is sometimes very enigmatic. --Eithne Farry

Review:

‘Of all the novelists in English in the last quarter-century, she has the most inarguable claim on greatness. This is a small book, probably not above 25,000 words, but a remarkably rich one. It sets the seal on a career we, as readers, can only count ourselves lucky to have lived through.’ Philip Hensher, Spectator

‘So readable, so sharply tender, at the top of her form.’ Adam Mars-Jones, Observer

‘As succinct, droll and individual as Fitzgerald has, over the years, given us every right to expect.’ Sunday Times

‘Luminous, dark, unflinching.’ Hermione Lee, TLS

‘Eight masterpieces, polished and perfect, and with such mesmerising characters that each story is equal to any novel.’ Polly Samson, Independent ‘Books of the Year’

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Fitzgerald, Penelope
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2001)
ISBN 10: 0007105010 ISBN 13: 9780007105014
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 192 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A collection of Penelope Fitzgerald s short stories. Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most highly-regarded writers on the English literary scene. Apart from Iris Murdoch, no other writer has been shortlisted so many times for the Booker. Her last novel, The Blue Flower , was the book of its year, garnering extraordinary acclaim in Britain, America and Europe. This superb collection of stories, originally published in anthologies and newspapers, shows Penelope Fitzgerald at her very best. From the tale of a young boy in 17-century England who loses a precious keepsake and finds it frozen in a puddle of ice, to that of a group of buffoonish amateur Victorian painters on a trip to Brittany, these stories are characteristically wide ranging, enigmatic and very funny. They are each miniature studies of the endless absurdity of human behaviour. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007105014

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Fitzgerald, Penelope
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2001)
ISBN 10: 0007105010 ISBN 13: 9780007105014
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 192 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A collection of Penelope Fitzgerald s short stories. Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most highly-regarded writers on the English literary scene. Apart from Iris Murdoch, no other writer has been shortlisted so many times for the Booker. Her last novel, The Blue Flower , was the book of its year, garnering extraordinary acclaim in Britain, America and Europe. This superb collection of stories, originally published in anthologies and newspapers, shows Penelope Fitzgerald at her very best. From the tale of a young boy in 17-century England who loses a precious keepsake and finds it frozen in a puddle of ice, to that of a group of buffoonish amateur Victorian painters on a trip to Brittany, these stories are characteristically wide ranging, enigmatic and very funny. They are each miniature studies of the endless absurdity of human behaviour. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007105014

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Book Description 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 130mm x 197mm x 11mm. Paperback. A collection of Penelope Fitzgerald's short stories. Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most highly-regarded writers on the English literary scene. Apart from Iris Murdoch, no other writer.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 176 pages. 0.130. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007105014

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Not Signed; A collection of Penelope Fitzgerald's short stories. Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most highly-regarded writers on the English literary scene. Apart from Iris Murdoch, no other writer has been shortlisted so many times for the Booker. Her last novel, 'The Blue Flower', was the book of its year, book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780007105014_rkm

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2001. Book Condition: New. 2001. Paperback. A collection of Penelope Fitzgerald's short stories. Num Pages: 176 pages. BIC Classification: FYB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 196 x 129 x 11. Weight in Grams: 138. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780007105014

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Book Description Fourth Estate, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Brand New Book. Shipping: Once your order has been confirmed and payment received, your order will then be processed. The book will be located by our staff, packaged and despatched to you as quickly as possible. From time to time, items get mislaid en route. If your item fails to arrive, please contact us first. We will endeavour to trace the item for you and where necessary, replace or refund the item. Please do not leave negative feedback without contacting us first. All orders will be dispatched within two working days. If you have any quesions please contact us. Bookseller Inventory # V9780007105014

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Book Condition: New. 2001. Paperback. A collection of Penelope Fitzgerald's short stories. Num Pages: 176 pages. BIC Classification: FYB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 196 x 129 x 11. Weight in Grams: 138. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780007105014

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