Stock Image

Offshore (Review Copy)

Fitzgerald, Penelope

3,672 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0805005617 / ISBN 13: 9780805005615
Published by Henry Holt & Co, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1987
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Novel Ending Books (Franklin, TN, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since October 17, 2007

Quantity Available: 1

Buy Used
Price: US$ 43.85 Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.85 Within U.S.A. Destination, Rates & Speeds
Add to basket

30 Day Return Policy

About this Item

A very nice copy of this Booker Prize winner, light rubbing o/w as new and unread with review slip laid in. Accurate descriptions/Quality Books. Bookseller Inventory # 1103

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details

Title: Offshore (Review Copy)

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1987

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 1979 A lovely new cover reissue of Penelope Fitzgerald's award-winning comic novel. Offshore is a dry, genuinely funny novel, set among the houseboat community who rise and fall with the tide of the Thames on Battersea Reach. Living between land and water, they feel as if they belong to neither...Maurice, a male prostitute, is the sympathetic friend to whom all the others turn. Nenna loves her husband but can't get him back; her children run wild on the muddy foreshore. She feels drawn to Richard, the ex-RNVR city man whose converted minesweeper dominates the Reach. Is he sexually attractive because he can fold maps the right way? With this and other questions waiting to be answered, Offshore offers a delightful glimpse of the workings of an eccentric community.

Review:

Offshore possesses perfect, very odd pitch. In just over 130 pages of the wittiest and most melancholy prose, Penelope Fitzgerald limns the lives of "creatures neither of firm land nor water"--a group of barge-dwellers in London's Battersea Reach, circa 1961. One man, a marine artist whose commissions have dropped off since the war, is attempting to sell his decrepit craft before it sinks. Another, a dutiful businessman with a bored, mutinous wife, knows he should be landlocked but remains drawn to the muddy Thames. A third, Maurice, a male prostitute, doesn't even protest when a criminal acquaintance begins to use his barge as a depot for stolen goods: "The dangerous and the ridiculous were necessary to his life, otherwise tenderness would overwhelm him."

At the center of the novel--winner of the 1979 Booker Prize--are Nenna and her truant six- and 11-year-old daughters. The younger sibling "cared nothing for the future, and had, as a result, a great capacity for happiness." But the older girl is considerably less blithe. "Small and thin, with dark eyes which already showed an acceptance of the world's shortcomings," Fitzgerald writes, she "was not like her mother and even less like her father. The crucial moment when children realise that their parents are younger than they are had long since been passed by Martha."

Their father is farther afield. Unable to bear the prospect of living on the Grace, he's staying in Stoke Newington, part of London but a lost world to his wife and daughters. Meanwhile, Nenna spends her time going over incidents that seem to have led to her current situation, and the matter of some missing squash racquets becomes of increasing import. Though she is peaceful by nature, experience and poverty are wearing Nenna down. Her confidante Maurice, after a momentary spell of optimism, also returns to his life of little expectation and quiet acceptance: "Tenderly responsive to the self-deceptions of others, he was unfortunately too well able to understand his own."

Penelope Fitzgerald views her creations with deep but wry compassion. Having lived on a barge herself, she offers her expert spin on the dangers, graces, and whimsies of river life. Nenna, too, has become a savant, instantly recognizing on one occasion that the mud encasing the family cat is not from the Reach. This "sagacious brute" is almost as complex as his human counterparts, constantly forced to adjust her notions of vermin and authority. Though Stripey is capable of catching and killing very young rats, the older ones chase her. "The resulting uncertainty as to whether she was coming or going had made her, to some extent, mentally unstable."

As always, Fitzgerald is a master of the initially bizarre juxtaposition. Adjacent sentences often seem like delightful non sequiturs--until they flash together in an effortless evocation of character, era, and human absurdity. Nenna recalls, for instance, how the buds had dropped off the plant her husband rushed to the hospital when Martha was born. She "had never criticized the bloomless azalea. It was the other young mothers in the beds each side of her who had laughed at it. That had been 1951. Two of the new babies in the ward had been christened Festival." Tiny comical epiphanies such as these have caused the author to be dubbed a "British miniaturist." Yet the phrase utterly misses the risks Fitzgerald's novellas take, the discoveries they make, and the endless pleasures they provide. --Kerry Fried

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

Novel Ending Books is a quality bookseller held to the highest of standards. Novel Ending Books has been in the book business, buying or selling, for over 20 years. Novel Ending specializes in first edition fiction, but offers a wide-range of books in a variety of subjects, both fiction and non-fiction We are honest, reliable, and sell the book as it is described and appreciate your business. We strive to have repeat customers and hope you will become one.

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

We guarantee the condition of every book as it's described on the Abebooks web sites. If you're dissatisfied with your purchase (Incorrect Book/Not as Described/Damaged) or if the order hasn't arrived, you're eligible for a refund within 30 days of the estimated delivery date. If you've changed your mind about a book that you've ordered, please use the Ask bookseller a question link to contact us and we'll respond within 2 business days. Tod Hull Novel Ending Books 88 Addison Avenue Franklin, TN...

More Information
Shipping Terms:

Shipping costs are based on books weighing 2.2 LB, or 1 KG. If your book order is heavy, oversized, or shipped internationally, we may contact you to let you know extra shipping is required.

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express