Offshore

Offshore

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by Penelope Fitzgerald
     
 

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On the Battersea Reach of the Thames, a mixed bag of eccentrics live in houseboats. Belonging to neither land nor sea, they belong to one another. There is Maurice, a homosexual prostitute; Richard, a buttoned-up ex-navy man; but most of all there's Nenna, the struggling mother of two wild little girls. How each of their lives complicates the others is the stuff…  See more details below

Overview


On the Battersea Reach of the Thames, a mixed bag of eccentrics live in houseboats. Belonging to neither land nor sea, they belong to one another. There is Maurice, a homosexual prostitute; Richard, a buttoned-up ex-navy man; but most of all there's Nenna, the struggling mother of two wild little girls. How each of their lives complicates the others is the stuff of this perfect little novel.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Almost disreputably enjoyable...You can breathe the air and taste the water.
Barbara Fisher Williamson
Much of ''Offshore'' simply sets the scene and arranges the characters, tasks Ms. Fitzgerald accomplishes with style....These characters are described with great care and skill. Ms. Fitzgerald excels at deft touches of characterization and dialogue....The action of the novel, what there is of it, is crammed into the final 30 pages....No one is settled in the end, including the reader, who hangs on perilously to a slender spar of the storytelling craft. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Here is life among the down, out and quirky, housed precariously in barges on the river Thames. ``With economical prose and wonderfully vivid dialogue,'' Booker Prize-winner Fitzgerald ``fashions a wry, fast-moving story whose ambiguous ending is exactly right,'' said PW. (May)
Library Journal
With her latest effort, The Blue Flower, making many best lists for 1997 as well as winning the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, Fitzgerald has gone from relative obscurityin the United States anywayto international fame in a matter of weeks. Readers introduced to her through The Blue Flower will no doubt be looking for her earlier works, such as this 1979 Booker Prize-winning novel that follows a bevy of characters living in houseboats on the Thames. Look for Fitzgerald's The Gate of Angels (ISBN 0-395-84838-5. pap. $12), also available from Mariner.
Washington Post
"Dazzling."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395478042
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/28/1998
Edition description:
None
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.31(d)

What People are saying about this

Frank Kermode
The kind of fiction in which perfection is almost to be hoped for, unostentatious as true virtuosity can make it, its texture a pure pleasure.

Meet the Author


PENELOPE FITZGERALD wrote many books small in size but enormous in popular and critical acclaim over the past two decades. Over 300,000 copies of her novels are in print, and profiles of her life appeared in both The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. In 1979, her novel Offshore won Britain's Booker Prize, and in 1998 she won the National Book Critics Circle Prize for The Blue Flower. Though Fitzgerald embarked on her literary career when she was in her 60's, her career was praised as "the best argument.. for a publishing debut made late in life" (New York Times Book Review). She told the New York Times Magazine, "In all that time, I could have written books and I didn’t. I think you can write at any time of your life." Dinitia Smith, in her New York Times Obituary of May 3, 2000, quoted Penelope Fitzgerald from 1998 as saying, "I have remained true to my deepest convictions, I mean to the courage of those who are born to be defeated, the weaknesses of the strong, and the tragedy of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, which I have done my best to treat as comedy, for otherwise how can we manage to bear it?"

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 17, 1916
Date of Death:
May 3, 2000
Place of Birth:
Lincoln, England
Place of Death:
London, England
Education:
Somerville College, Oxford University, 1939

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Offshore 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
jeritree More than 1 year ago
Reading Offshore is living moment by moment in Fitzgerald's house-boat setting on the Thames, with real, breathing, unique characters of all ages and dispositions. She is a master here of portraying the river-scape, using the exact terminology of houseboat reality and giving an intricate portrayal of people just like us, not the "larger-than-life" variety, but those caught up in in the ways life lives us even as we struggle to persevere and to know ourselves. This book is for readers who love boat-life, dramas of survival and taking the journey with a great craftswoman of language and portrayal.
Drora More than 1 year ago
Very "British" in nature and language.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago