Margaret Drabble

Margaret Drabble

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Humphrey Clark and Ailsa Kelman spent a summer together as children in Ornemouth, a town by the gray North Sea. Now, as they journey back to receive honorary degrees from a new university there—Humphrey on the train, Ailsa flying—they take stock of their lives, their careers, and their shared personal entanglements, romantic and otherwise. Humphrey is a successful marine biologist, happiest under water, but now retired; Ailsa, scholar and feminist, is celebrated for her pioneering studies of gender. Their mutual pasts unfold in an exquisite portrait of English social life in the latter half of the twentieth century.
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“Deserves to become a classic. . . . It greatly enriches one’s sense of the British countryside to see it this way, through the eyes of poets and novelists down the centuries.”—Christian Science Monitor The love of place is endemic in English literature, from the work of the earliest poets and hermits to the suburban celebrations of John Betjeman. Here, the renowned author Margaret Drabble presents an image of Britain as seen by writers of different regions and periods, illuminating the ways in which their work has shaped our visual attitudes, taste in landscape, and relation to nature.

For this new edition of her engaging study, Ms. Drabble has made corrections and updates to the text throughout and written a new epilogue. ....

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The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws is an original and brilliant work. Margaret Drabble weaves her own story into a history of games, in particular jigsaws, which have offered her and many others relief from melancholy and depression. Alongside curious facts and discoveries about jigsaw puzzles — did you know that the 1929 stock market crash was followed by a boom in puzzle sales? — Drabble introduces us to her beloved Auntie Phyl, and describes childhood visits to the house in Long Bennington on the Great North Road, their first trip to London together, the books they read, the jigsaws they completed. She offers penetrating sketches of her parents, her siblings, and her children; she shares her thoughts on the importance of childhood play, on art and writing, on aging and memory. And she does so with her customary intelligence, energy, and wit. This is a memoir like no other.

"Reading Margaret Drabble's novels has become something of a rite of passage...Sharply observed, exquisitely companionable tales of women of a certain age and class, educated, egocentric, strong, unlucky in love."
(Washington Post )

"Margaret Drabble will have done for late twentieth-century London what Dickens did for Victorian London."
(New York Times )

"Drabble's fiction has achieved a panoramic vision of contemporary life."
(Chicago Tribune ) ...

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