Something Happened Yesterday

Overview

Something Happened Yesterday holds new, various, and abundant delights for the many fans of Bainbridge's novels, not least among them her exchanges with her readers like Fred, on the history of beryl (the gemstone), or like the committee for East Clyst's 'Cooker Prize' of a gas oven for winning authors. Pleasantly idiosyncratic, this collection of personal essays blends subtle observations of contemporary England with fond, personal memories of its past. The result is part ...
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New York, NY 1998 Hard cover New in fine dust jacket. lt shelfwear to d/j-Book Appears Unread Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 176 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

Something Happened Yesterday holds new, various, and abundant delights for the many fans of Bainbridge's novels, not least among them her exchanges with her readers like Fred, on the history of beryl (the gemstone), or like the committee for East Clyst's 'Cooker Prize' of a gas oven for winning authors. Pleasantly idiosyncratic, this collection of personal essays blends subtle observations of contemporary England with fond, personal memories of its past. The result is part diary, part memoir, all life.
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Editorial Reviews

Daneet Steffens
This collection -- eclectic as well as amusing -- is a bit like taking a spot of tea at the Mad Hatter's party. -- Entertainment Weekly
Sarah Harrison Smith
Unsentimental, politically incorrect and unpretentious, this collection can be enjoyed even if you are not familiar with Bainbridge's Camden Lock neighborhood or her novels. -- NY Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Originally when Bainbridge was asked to write a short weekly column for the Evening Standard, she 'mistakenly attempted to grapple with so-called burning issues.' Daunted by the amount of research and 'informed comment' this required, she decided instead to focus on the daily events of her life, hence the rather modest title for this selection of 50 columns. As it happens, things that happened yesterday lead to recollections of things that happened many years previously as well as to things that didn't happen to her at all. Anyone who is familiar with Bainbridge's novels, say, The Secret Glass, will know that even the most ordinary council flat closet has some macabre skeleton ready-made for her sharp satire. Here the same applies: the structural decline of part of her house recalls the time her ex-mother-in-law tried to shoot her; thinking about exercise evokes her attempts to find out what kind of paperwork she would need to bury her mother in the back yard. She has little hobbies, like her museum with its piece of Herod's temple, her mother's teeth, a friend's gallstone, Melvyn Bragg's discarded sock. Her kids appear often, but more often is "a past which has become more real than the present." Bainbridge (who is best known in the U.S. for her novel The Birthday Boys, about Scott's expedition to the South Pole) is very English. Her humor is dry, pointed and very rooted in the culture, and some things may evade an American audience. The funniest bits, and often the most British, are the footnotes--Bainbridge's sober responses to letters from earnest eccentrics who could or should be Bainbridge's creations.
Kirkus Reviews
A loose-knit collection of personal essays, all of them short, irreverent, and revealing, by one of Britain's top novelists. When she first began her column for the London Evening Standard in the late '80s, Bainbridge claims that she 'mistakenly attempted to grapple with so-called burning issues,' only to realize that such an undertaking required much research. Overwhelmed by the effort, she soon turned her attention home again. 'I'm not bothered,' she writes, 'with causes or hard facts; my preoccupation is not with the immediate how and why of the lives we lead, but rather with a raking over of the life we once knew.' And so she does, with self-deprecating wit and a knack for character-revealing detail. The character she exposes, however, is her own. Bainbridge casts herself as the slightly addled owner of a ramshackle house overrun by various adult daughters and their assorted children. At every turn, the author's efforts to write her column are interrupted by their comings and goings, as well as those of her secretary, her cleaning woman, her cat, her local ghost and equally local policeman. The tumult provides Bainbridge with enough centrifugal force to connect the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous, completely bypassing the sublime. Who else would link a brief discussion of philosopher David Hume to a failed attempt to rent a geriatric guest from the council housing project for Christmas? Or use the event of a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to reflect upon a ruptured carbuncle and the decline of British manners? Although hardly profound, Bainbridge has a way of skewering her own foibles and those of the larger society with a deft pen, casually mixing andmatching personal and social phenomena with the odd faux pas. Thus Bainbridge succeeds in creating a book of short essays as salty and addictive as a bag of crisps.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786705177
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.59 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 7
1 Street carnival 9
2 Film heroes 13
3 History of spanking 16
4 Vale of tears 20
5 Self-expression 24
6 Aeons ago 27
7 Escaping to London 31
8 Exercise 34
9 Travel 38
10 Opera 41
11 Evening in Provence 44
12 Attic nights 49
13 Good behaviour 52
14 Principles of action 55
15 Forty years on 58
16 Waiting for Papa 62
17 Not the same 65
18 Weaker sex 69
19 Red neckties 72
20 In concert 75
21 Christmas ghost 79
22 Health of the nation 83
23 The finest mothers 86
24 A rum Sunday 90
25 Minnie and Winnie 94
26 Tricks of memory 97
27 Second edition 101
28 Saints and sinners 104
29 Hosepipe 108
30 Intellectuals 111
31 Downright turpitude 114
32 Too much brass 117
33 Tears and laughter 120
34 Citizen's arrest 123
35 String quartets 127
36 The gall of it 130
37 Huge interest 133
38 Guilty gals 136
39 Exchanging words 139
40 Cages 142
41 Pudding 146
42 Big adventure 149
43 Filthy lucre 152
44 Grandchildren 155
45 Ex-mother-in-law 158
46 Relics 161
47 September song 165
48 Death and the pox 168
49 In irons 171
50 Benefit of rates 174
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