Injury time Beryl Bainbridge
I read this as part of Gaskella Beryl Bainbridge week .I had Beryl Bainbridge down in my list of big scary Women writers ,those you who follow the blog know I struggle sometimes with big female writers .So Beryl Bainbridge is a name I ve been aware of for twenty year since my early days of following the booker prize .She was shortlisted on a number of occasions but never actually won the prize but shortly after her death they ran a Bainbridge booker of the books she’d had shortlisted and the book master Georgie won (I may try that next ).She grew up liverpool and her books mainly psychological and set in the working classes .She published over twenty novels .I saw a documentary on her that bbc showed a couple of years ago that involved her family and meant to try her then so must thank Annabella for giving me the push to read one of her books at last .
Now to injury time ,which I may say is a book of its time firsted published in the seventies .We meet Edward a man married to Helen but having an an affair with Binny ,He felt bad that his mistress is unable to do the things a wife could do so the book opens with him asking someone he knows Old Simpson and his other half Muriel he is the sort chap that is able to keep a secret .Now to be truthful the opening of this book just didn’t grab me .I saw this as a typical bit of seventies social commentary the dinner party being the big thing of the seventies as families got more disposable income this came the dinner parties in fact my heart started sink , think oh no is this a different take on Abgails party social satire I loved Abigail’s party and would find it hard to get anything to match it for the humour .But as we moved further on the fact this party has to finish at half ten as Edward need to be home is maybe the first bit that tells you something is going to happen at this party to maybe mean Edward is going to be found out ,so the clock ticks as they await the guests .Then they arrive late than expected and the party gets under way .This is where the book really drew me in as the party is suddenly crashed by a group of bank robbers .As one can imagine this adds a new dynamic to Edward’s rush to finish at half ten and also means he won’t be home so as the party descends into farce .Well that’s enough of that I let you read the book to find out the rest .
They began dinner at a quarter past nine. Edward wondered agitatedly how he could possibly manage to eat ,help with the washing up,and be out of the house by half past ten at the latest .It would seem fearfully abrupt .
Edward start to panic ,when they arrive late .
I think the title is an allusion to the football game where if things are tight the amount of injury time can make the world of difference I remember the United game in 1999 where they won the European cup in injury time so like that this is Edwards injury time . I was also reminded after reading the book of two things by this book the first is the Harold Pinter play The birthday party in which a party is gatecrashed by two men,though that play is very dark the context of a party being gatecrashed is there and fact it been out for twenty years and Bainbridge did a lot of theatre criticism she probably saw this and maybe it was a slight influence on the idea of the story .The second is an episode of only fools and horse where Del and Rodney suffered an intruder whilst on holiday he turns out to be an escaped prisoner and much farce follows as they try to make him go .Well I did in the end like this book not love it ,it was enough to make me want to try her again and yet again shows the value of having a reading week devoted to one writer .