The Pumpkin Eater

The Pumpkin Eater

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590173824
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 04/26/2011
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,088,780
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Penelope Mortimer (1918–1999) was born Penelope Ruth Fletcher in North Wales, the younger of two children of an Anglican clergyman father and his wife. The family moved often, and Penelope was educated at half a dozen institutions before spending a year at the University of London. In 1937 she married the journalist Charles Dimont, with whom she had two daughters. Two more daughters by two different men would follow before, in 1949, she divorced Dimont and married the barrister, novelist, and playwright John Mortimer, with whom she had another daughter and her only son. The Mortimers were celebrated as “the last word in marital chic,” but the marriage was tumultuous and the couple divorced in 1972. In addition to The Pumpkin Eater (1962), made into a 1964 film from a screenplay by Harold Pinter and starring Anne Bancroft and Peter Finch, Mortimer published several other novels, including Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting (1958), Long Distance (1974), and The Handyman (1983); a travel book co-authored with John Mortimer, With Love and Lizards (1957); and a biography of the Queen Mother. She also served as a film critic for the London Observer and was a regular contributor of short stories to The New Yorker. The first volume of her autobiography About Time (1979) was awarded the Whitbread Prize and was followed by About Time Too (1993).

Daphne Merkin is the author of Enchantment, a novel and Dreaming of Hitler, a collection of essays. Her cultural criticism has appeared in a range of publications, including Vogue and The
American Scholar
, and has been widely anthologized. She has been a staff writer for The New Yorker, and is currently a contributing writer at Elle and The New York Times Magazine. She lives in New York City, where she teaches writing, and is at work on a memoir, Melancholy Baby.

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The Pumpkin Eater 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
aethercowboy on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The Pumpkin Eater is a story loosely based on the life of Penelope Mortimer, though fictionalized and hyperbolized in some ways. A woman with too many children (more than is ever made clear in the prose) is stuck between her desire to have more children and to not fall out of love with her fourth husband, a screenwriter.In this book, not quite as feminist as, say, Gilman, we have a story similar to her Yellow Wallpaper, in which we find yet another diary of a mad woman, going slowly madder and madder.My biggest issue with the edition I read was the foreword by Daphne Merkin, which chronicled the life of Mortimer and drew parallels between her life and the life of the protagonist of The Pumkin Eater, Mrs. Armitage. Basically, if you're one who is averse to spoilers, you may want to treat it as an afterword.The book was short and written almost stream of consciousness at times, and almost like a play at others. It's not the most positive book, but probably worth a read by readers of feminist literature or readers of depressing literature. People who want happy fiction with traditional gender roles and whatnot need not bother.
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