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Penelope Mortimer (1918–1999)

Teoksen The Pumpkin Eater tekijä

14+ teosta 1,060 jäsentä 32 arvostelua 4 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Tekijän teokset

The Pumpkin Eater (1962) 516 kappaletta, 19 arvostelua
Daddy's Gone A-Hunting (1958) 164 kappaletta, 5 arvostelua
My Friend Says It's Bullet-Proof (1967) 91 kappaletta, 3 arvostelua
Saturday Lunch with the Brownings (1960) 57 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
The Home (1971) 55 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
The Handyman (1983) 43 kappaletta
About Time: An Aspect of Autobiography (1979) 27 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
Long Distance (1974) 23 kappaletta
About Time Too: 1940-1978 (1993) 19 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
A Villa in Summer (1954) 6 kappaletta
Cave of ice 4 kappaletta
With Love and Lizards (1957) 4 kappaletta
The Bright Prison (1956) 3 kappaletta

Associated Works

The Persephone Book of Short Stories (2012) — Avustaja — 119 kappaletta, 3 arvostelua
Stories from The New Yorker, 1950 to 1960 (1958) — Avustaja — 80 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
Bunny Lake is Missing [1965 film] (1965) — Writer — 34 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
Portrait of a Marriage [1990 TV mini-series] (2006) — Writer — 25 kappaletta, 2 arvostelua
The Best Horror Stories (1977) — Avustaja — 23 kappaletta
A Different Sound: Stories by Mid-Century Women Writers (2023) — Avustaja — 20 kappaletta
Women Writing: An Anthology (1979) — Avustaja — 12 kappaletta
Venomous Tales of Villainy and Vengeance: An Anthology (1984) — Avustaja — 5 kappaletta
Short Stories: The Thoroughly Modern Collection (2008) — Avustaja — 5 kappaletta
Personal Choice (1977) — Avustaja — 2 kappaletta
Antaeus No. 34, Summer 1979 — Avustaja — 1 kappale

Merkitty avainsanalla


Kanoninen nimi
Mortimer, Penelope
Virallinen nimi
Mortimer, Penelope Ruth
Muut nimet
Fletcher, Penelope Ruth (birth)
Dimont, Penelope
Rhyl, Flintshire, Wales, UK
Kensington, London, England, UK
Willesden, London, England, UK (death)
Rhyl, Flintshire, Wales, UK (birth)
University College, London
film critic
Mortimer, John (husband | divorced)
Swingler, Randall (lover)
Mortimer, Jeremy (son)
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Whitbread Prize for Biography (1979)
Lyhyt elämäkerta
Penelope Mortimer's complex marital and parental history sometimes became material for her own writing and that of her barrister-writer husband, John Mortimer. The London Daily Telegraph's obituary of Ms. Mortimer said the couple ''seemed to represent the last word in marital chic'' in the 1950s and 60s. Behind this facade, however, she had frequent bouts of depression.



Merkitty asiattomaksi
Overgaard | Jul 6, 2024 |
I thought about my rating of this for a while but I decided to go with this as I really didn't like it personally, even though I see some merits. The thing is, it's tough to pinpoint what I really dislike and I absolutely acknowledge this might be my own mood and faults. And I think if you've been in a similar situation you would appreciate it a lot more because you'd be able to fill in some of the gaps I found confusing.

The first thing is that the main character shows contempt to pretty much everyone else. At several points (particularly with a character named Philpot) she looks down on people poorer than her. She makes some really dodgy comments on race. She shows no fondness for her children at any point. It's not exactly a good start. She also whines about being rich - this is the most obvious thing for me to explain my dislike of the book. Nothing annoys me more than this. She complains about how having cleaners and nurses have made her feel alienated. Why couldn't she just dismiss the nurses, given she doesn't work and she's apparently not doing other housework? Who knows! Later she apparently has 1 nurse for her large amount of children and does some caring for them but she's annoyed about having to take care of children so I guess nothing pleases her. She reminiscences about a time when she was poor and apparently it was perfect. Incredible. Wow. I feel so sorry for you, having a massive income.

There are vague elements that seem like they're going to be surreal but just resolve into nothing. There's a tower being built in the countryside and things are going to be good after they move in? Sounds interesting. Oh, it just gets built and they live there for a summer and that's it. Wow. Her children are never given a number and most aren't described? Sounds vaguely spooky but several are named and described, she just ignores the vast majority, which makes her seem even more of an ass.

A big element of the book is her children, but as said above she doesn't seem to like them much. She only talks about one in any detail and just gives ages to a few others. Yet she talks about how she wants one, apparently deliberately gets one against the wishes of her husband (somehow? did she mess up contraception or what? surely he'd have expected the possibility? i don't know). Children have defined her life. This probably sounds like it reflects a fundamental ambiguity of being a woman or something but it's written poorly. An event later is really horrible for her and is the one point in the book where I feel incredibly sorry for her yet I still don't understand. She is strongly encouraged to have her uterus removed and fetus aborted under false pretences. Yet she hasn't mentioned why she wants the baby - it seems like a bizarre spur of the moment thing. This is probably a metaphor for womanhood or something but it just doesn't work at all She regularly gets annoyed by her children, yet she hates parting with them or the possibility of them. She doesn't spend time with her children or care for them, yet they're presented as some sort of obstacle in her life. It's baffling.

The most important "poor writing" element is that she never really talks about her feelings. This is a first person narrative yet we rarely get to find out what she's really feeling. There's sort of some of it but mostly she describes events with maybe just "what exact emotion she's feeling at the moment". Yes, to a certain extent it's clear this is deliberate, that she's confused as to how she feels, but it's ridiculous for a whole book.

There's an attempt at treating the events that happen as inevitable but it really doesn't work at all. She clearly acts in ways that changed her life, entirely of her own accord. There's no reason to believe anything in this book is inevitable from the text (even though it is believable in a real life context). She's had children by several different men during long term relationships/marriages, leaving all but two by choice (one by death, one because she's still married). She's apparently still attractive and there's no reason to believe she couldn't leave again but she basically says "oh yeah I can't" at a couple points with no reason - I mean it's weird enough that every one of her partners was totally cool with her previous kids but they apparently were so anything is believable. She describes something bad that happened early on (Simpkin) and I can understand that she was encouraged to do something but it was again her choice, her decisions and what happened was a weird kiss that she stopped of her own accord and was respected in doing so. This is described later on as if it was really awful, the worst thing a man can do. Don't get me wrong - he is clearly a creepy, disgusting, lecherous man. But her reaction doesn't fit her own choice to phone this guy up and ask to meet him while having a vague idea what will happen. The problem again is the emotions are inconsistent and poorly described so even bad events are confusing to understand from her perspective. She talks about inevitability yet at no point does she seem coerced and on the contrary actually takes decisions completely against typical standards for women and succeeds while doing so. There's vague stuff about gender roles but it feels completely unconvincing. Even though I know how awful expectations and pressures on women can be, the book only really vaguely alludes to it. The lack of convincingness is the main problem here.

I could go on. There's just nothing convincing, no real development of character, no way you can really empathise. It just feels like an inconsistent mush, with the actual sad and awful events completely brought down by the set-up. The ending isn't anything special in any respect, although it again tries some vague surrealism and presumably it's symbolic. It does nothing for me really. Just a poor ending to a poor book.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
tombomp | 18 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 31, 2023 |
An alright semi-autobiographical look at a marriage riddled with classist, racist whiny garbage. This is everything wrong with white feminism.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
womanwoanswers | 18 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 23, 2022 |
While much might be made of this as an “abortion” novel, Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting is equally concerned with the plight of a well-to-to-woman in an unhappy late-1950s marriage. Ruth Whiting is at loose ends now that her boys have returned to their prestigious private school. Her eldest child, Angela—the reason teenage Ruth had been compelled by her father to marry Rex Whiting—will soon return to Oxford, but the mother-daughter relationship is strained. Angela feels her mother has no interest in her, while Ruth retains a certain degree of resentment of the child who set her life on a seemingly irrevocable course. Over the summer holiday, Ruth’s children have noticed she’s become a little barmy. They joke about it, but they are on to something. Underneath her conventional, gracious-hostess exterior, she’s fragmenting.

After seeing her boys off in London and before catching the train back to her well-appointed home in a quaint village on the outskirts of London, Ruth goes shopping. Among her purchases is a small cradle-shaped music box which plays the traditional English lullaby Goodbye Baby Bunting. Ruth tells herself that it’s for a neighbour’s young child, but she cannot part with it. It is a potent symbol of her experience of empty-nest syndrome as well as the abandonment she feels in the vulnerable-child part of her own psyche. Her husband, Rex Whiting, is a high-end dentist to celebrities, who stays in his London flat during the work week, ostensibly for the sake of convenience, but actually because adultery is a whole lot easier to manage at a distance.

Ruth is just descending into nervous collapse when her daughter suddenly returns home from Oxford to announce she’s pregnant. The “boyfriend” (if you can call him that) is cut from the same boorish cloth as Rex, and Angela certainly does not want to marry him. She also doesn’t want her father to know anything about her situation, believing he’d yell a great deal and likely force her into marriage. Ruth and Angela tentatively bond as they try to obtain abortion services for Angela. Abortion is illegal in the England of 1958.

I have no idea how well Ruth and Angela’s experience seeking abortion reflects that of actual English women in the mid-twentieth century, but the novel made me interested in finding out more.

To her credit, Mortimer provides a realistic conclusion. Mother and daughter have not become kindred spirits, but they share a secret, and Ruth has gained some confidence by competently helping her daughter to steer her life in a different direction from her own.

An absorbing novel. Recommended.
… (lisätietoja)
1 ääni
Merkitty asiattomaksi
fountainoverflows | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 15, 2022 |



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