Injury time by Beryl Bainbridge

Injury time Beryl Bainbridge

English fiction

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 .

Dickens 2012 how far did the ripple go round the world

Well today is the 200th  anniversary of Charles Dickens birth .I ve tossed and turned in my head how to cover this and involve the main focus of Winstonsdad that of fiction in translation and I decide that is to see how in my view he has had an effect outside the UK on writers .At the time Dickens wrote he was along side a couple of great French writers Zola and earlier Balzac these where all social realist writers .so lets see how in my view dickens has effected writers from round the world .


Now London is Dickens city the sooty dirty back streets dark alleys and cobbles inhabit his london make the city a central character in a lot of his books .Now Orhan Pamuk in a lecture in 2009 acknowledge how both Dickens and Joyce had shown him how important making the city feel right can be to the book ,I read his last book last year the Museum of innocence and this book has loads of dickens links the city Pamuk’s is Istanbul ,class this book is all about classes and love always crops up in Dickens .Although he said he wasn’t a huge fan the great chronicler of Cairo Naguib Mafhouz said Dickens had made cities important to the novel .Joyce also would have read dickens and how many of the scenes in Ulysses wouldn’t have been possible if Dickens hadn’t written so much about working people  and the streets they live in .


Whether it is Pip ,David Copperfield or Oliver twist ,Dickens wrote great children as Narrators but also children facing great struggles and meeting the most awful characters along the way from Magwitch and Bill Sikes as evil ,to school or workplace as a horrific situations .Now last year I read two great child Narrators heir to Dickens great Narrator and both from the spanish speaking world Tochtti from down the rabbit hole lives in a nightmares world of the modern criminal class Fagin and Sikes look tame compared to this world but if Dickens lived now this would be his world .The other book is Kamchatka and Harry and his family on the run  face a terrifying world  and danger at every turn .I interview the writer and he had read a lot of english fiction although he didn’t mention Dickens I m sure he would have read him .


Now there is one name jumps out for this Leo Tolstoy who was known to be a huge Dickens fan and like Dickens his books have a lot of social realism in them .Tolstoy called Dickens the greatest 19th century writer ,even have pictures of Dickens on his wall .Elsewhere I noticed Heinrich boll mention Dickens in his book the Irish journal  and the recent German short story collection from Clemens Meyer a rough edged book is the heir to Dickens in its view of people on the edge is the rough parts of east german that much different to the Victorian London of Dickens I wonder .

So there is just a few people from round the world that could be called the children of dickens but I like to point out Sarah’s post and the fact that I love dickens but as Sarah says there are lots of over looked writers like Henry Green and Lawrence Durrell would be another this year is his 100th anniversary .The top image is one I took recently at the dickens museum which is at his home .

Thanks all Henry Green week wrap up post

Firstly I want to thank every one who took part and read and reviewed Henry’s novels we manage to put up reviews of six  of his nine novels .Thus increasing his profile on the web I hope our reviews make more people pick up his books and maybe see some of his books return to print .here are the full round-up of reviews –

Back by Henry Green reviewed by Mel of reading life ,great This is one I ve not read but will after reading Mel’s review .

Party going by Henry green reviewed by Annabella of Gaskella who call henry Green quite a discovery .

Party Going by Henry Green Gary of Parrish lantern also reviewed it calling the main characters Empty vessels .

Blindness by Henry Green Simon of stuck in a book start with the first of Green’s works his debut and loved it .

Loving by Henry Green David of follow the thread read this and said green had produced something utterly distinctive .

Back by Henry Green Fay  of Readramble also reviewed this ,and found echos of Waugh and Beckett in it .

Caught by Henry Green Sarah of  rat in the book pile  also read this like my self and calling it a sparkling jewel of a novel .

Living by Henry Green Harriet of Harriet Devine Blog review this and said how completely in love with Henry Green’s writing she is .

Loving by Henry Green by Tanya of 20thcenturyvox ,she felt that there was something symbolic in the novel .

Loving ny henry Green Karyn of a penguin a week also review this and felt it was more complex than it first seems

Loving by Henry Green Anbolyn of Gudrun tights found it a unique take on the love story .

Caught by Henry Green Helen of  Galimaufry agreed with me the scandal this book is out of print and very expensive to get second-hand .

Party Going by Henry Green Caroline of Beauty is a sleeping cat thought this was comedy of manners .

Thanks every one for your reviews .

Caught By Henry Green

Caught is one of his lesser known novels now but at the time was heralded as a future classic ,when it was published in 1943 during the middle of the war and two years after the end of the blitz which is what the book is about Henry green or  Henry Yorke as he was in real life was in the Auxiliary  Fire Service in London during the height of the blitz ,this book was a result of the time he spent putting out fires during the war.

When Roe first joined the Service ,when nations were still declaring peace,it seemed ludicrous to be trained by fire men in a real fire-station .He signed on because he had for years wanted to see inside one of these turreted buildings ,and had also he had always been afraid of heights .

Maybe green describes the reason he joined the Auxiliary fire service

Caught is the story of a team of firemen and focus on two of them they have a link that goes back before the war and they joined the fire service .They are Richard Roe ,he is upper class and I would imagine this is Henry Green himself and Pye  the sub officer of the fire station ,who like most of the team is a working class chap but a man who has a lot more to himself and his life than it first seems .He has a very disturbed sister that Richard roe the other main character in the book  had a run in before when he his son  Christopher  was held  hostage by her in her room  for a time until Pye rescues him ,this forms a barrier initially between the two men ,but we see ebb and flow of them at work and rest  that at heart they are both flawed men. I always think this is one of Green’s strongest writing traits is that of the  flawed man a lot of his characters are flawed in one way or other  whether it is class or secrets  something always makes them seem more interesting than the normal characters in most novels .There are scenes of the blitz  which are exquisitely written and bring you into the heart of the blitz  but come towards the end as we also see the build up to the blitz ., but like all good drama based round the fire service it is the  quiet times in between that is the most interesting seeing the interactions of the men as they wait not certain what the night holds or even if they’ll be their next day ,This I feel this is  probably  as Henry Green experienced the war ,he was in Middle age when  he volunteer to join the fire service  in London something he didn’t have to do give his station in life as the fire service was made up mostly of working class men during the war  and sure he spent many hours chatting like Pye and Roe ( there is a clever pun by Green on the two leads Name ).Roe Has lost his wife and via the fire station finds a new love .This book is also a great look at class before during and in a way after the war when the barriers to classes interacting in everyday situations were broken down some what .The cialogue also forms the backbone of this book the interaction between character is all spoken never thought or described as Green said in the piece I quote from wood he thought what people said was the most important bit of the book .This book is out of print but second hand copies about I got mine cheap in Oxfam

Have you read this book ?

Have you read any other books based in London during the war ?

Another interview and the first review of Henry Green week

Well I ve found another online interview not by green but by one of his friend on Jstor website it short but worth a quick read .A quote from James Woods How fiction works and strangely Woods is a Green fan it seems as he quotes from three of his works in the book .

In 1950 Henry Green gave a little talk on BBC radio about dialogue in fiction Green was obsessively concerned with the elimination of vulgar spoors of presence whereby authors communicate themselves to readers : he never internalized his characters thoughts hardly ever explained a characters motive ,and avoids the authorial adverb, which so often helpfully flags a character’s emotion to the reader (“she said grandiloquent” ) .Green argued that dialogue is the best way to communicate with one’s reader and that nothing kills “life ” so much as explanation”

A great quote on why we sometimes find Green hard to read from Wood’s  how fiction works .

Elsewhere in the book he talks about Caught which is a book I ll be reviewing that lives up to what green said in the BBC interview it is very dialogue heavy .

The first review was on Sunday from A penguin a week Karyn review Loving Green’s fifth novel and one that was sparked by a story he heard whilst in fire service in world ward two

Henry Green Week

Well it is here Henry Green Week .I decide to Honour him with a week following a discussion on twitter with the editor of folio society ,about green the have a forthcoming edition of his one of his books .But we also said how he had dropped a bit of the radar for most readers .I felt it was a shame for at the time he was around Green was held in the same esteem as Evelyn Waugh .His writing is inventive and thou he hate being called a modernist ,it has traits of the modernist style although as you see in the link to the Paris review interview here  he   said he wrote living and he hadn’t even read Ulysses .I ve read Caught  his wartime novel about the fire service in London in which He served during the war .I m just in middle of concluding a book set in a school on a single day .So please let me know of your review at end of week I ll do a round-up of posts from round the web .I m looking forward to seeing what people made of his works .

Henry Green Week jan 23 – 29 2012

After a conversation on twitter this afternoon about Henry Green and the fact that not enough people read him .I decide lets do a week for him in January .I think he is maybe one if not the best pre war English writer .He is probably best known for loving his 1945 novel and his brught young think novel party going .

here  is his wiki page 

Sebastian faulks on him in the guardian 

Have you read him ?

What book will you pick ? 


Waugh Wednesday – Fidon’s confetion

Date published -1910 -1914

Age of waugh -7-11

Length – 5 pages

This is another of the very young Waugh’s story this is about Ralfe the eldest son of Gerald Cantonville ,he is playing cards last night when his fellow player kills his father  ,he is arrested but is saved a the trial by Tom his younger brother as the knife used was Ralfe  .At the last-minute as it was the fidon of the title that Killed Fidon in revenge .The story has A moral feel to it about telling the truth .This would fit with Waugh’s later conversion to Catholicism in his late twenties .he was at school at Heath mount Prep school at the time he wrote this piece .As with last week’s work hard to say much ,there are spelling errors but for a boy of Waugh age, when he wrote this are  normal for a seven-year old .I do wonder if these first two stories thou interesting on one level where ever really needed to be published .

Midnight boomed from the old clock tower and still the two men played on .Ralfe the eldest son of Gerald Cantonville had got in debt to villainous money lender and in desperation had taken to Gambling in a great effort to “raise the wind” all in vain on he played and still Baycraw won  .

The opening of Fidon’s confetion  .

Would you like your pre teen stories published ?

Is the a moral feel to Waugh’s work?

The curse of the horse race – to begin at the beginning

Date of story -1910

Age of waugh – 7

Well it seems hard to say much on a seven year olds story ,this is a short cautionary tale on the errors of betting on a horse ,of Tom and Rupert ,a puliesman (policeman ) as the young Waugh put it is killed .Rupert goes on the run after a bet goes wrong and he kills a policeman later Tom finds him in the Inn hiding and takes him to the police .

quote –

chap 11-

the next moring Tom took his seat in the grant stand while Rupert mounted sally (which was his horse) with the others to wate for the pistol shot which would anounse the start .

the race was soon over and Rupery had lost .What was he to do could he do the deed ? yes I’ll kill him in the night ,he thought .

The spelling are Waugh aged 7 -but that humour is there a bit mounted sally bit .

So does this live upto the old saying by Jesuit priest” show me the boy I’ll show you the man ”

I think it does ,but we ll find out more over next few weeks as I work through the section in Everyman collection called Juvenilia which covers his first tentive steps in the writing world .

Waugh Wednesday

Last week in early hours of morning I was awake so tuned in to the revamped radio Four Extra the new name for radio seven .To hear they were going to broadcast two short stories by Evelyn Waugh my ears pricked up always half aware of short stories the two I heard were wonderful .So I checked next day and found a couple of editions of his complete short stories  on Amazon a penguin and Everyman Library one .I loved Everyman books ,but unable to get on at moment ,so I ve borrowed the libraries edition for now ,until I can buy it .But this has led to the creation of Waugh Wednesday .I use love my good friend robs days  on one writer and have been trying to find a worthy subject and I loved the novels of Waugh I love so have chosen wednesday from now on for next year or so for all thing Waugh ,There are 38 pieces in the collection ,I ve two novels also a number of films adapted from his books .Plus the wonderful Brideshead Revisited TV series to talk about and discuss.


I love the everyman cover.can’t wait to get a copy of book for myself

What Waugh have you read ?

What  is your favourite ?


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February 2021


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