Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.00
  • Save: $2.31 (17%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime Shipping, 24/7 Customer Service, and package tracking. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Clothes They Stood Up In and The Lady in the Van (Today Show Book Club #5) Paperback – November 1, 2002


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$11.69
$2.98 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Frequently Bought Together

The Clothes They Stood Up In and The Lady in the Van (Today Show Book Club #5) + The Uncommon Reader: A Novella
Price for both: $22.95

Buy the selected items together
  • The Uncommon Reader: A Novella $11.26

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Today Show Book Club edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812969650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812969658
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[The Clothes They Stood Up In is an] absolutely delicious, near perfect little book. You will read it in a couple of hours at most, but you will think about it for a long, long time.”
-Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

“[The Clothes They Stood Up In is] a completely charming entertainment: a small gem by one of Britain’s most versatile and gifted writers.”
-Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“One of the top ten books of 2001.”
-Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

“Full of jolly, broad, and very English humour...a charm-filled holiday read.”
-Alain de Botton

“Sharp...a happy evening’s read and a tantalizing mental challenge to those of us who, like the Ransomes, find [our] lives encumbered and [our] senses blunted by too much stuff.”
-Brooke Allen, The New York Times Book Review

From the Inside Flap

From Alan Bennett, the author of The Madness of King George, come two stories about the strange nature of possessions...or the lack of them. In the nationally bestselling novel The Clothes They Stood Up In, the staid Ransomes return from the opera to find their Regent?s Park flat stripped bare--right down to the toilet-paper roll. Free of all their earthly belongings, the couple faces a perplexing question: Who are they without the things they?ve spent a lifetime accumulating? Suddenly a world of unlimited, frightening possibility opens up before them.

In ?The Lady in the Van,? which The Village Voice called ?one of the finest bursts of comic writing the twentieth century has produced,? Bennett recounts the strange life of Miss Shepherd, a London eccentric who parked her van (overstuffed with decades? worth of old clothes, oozing batteries, and kitchen utensils still in their original packaging) in the author?s driveway for more than fifteen years. A mesmerizing portrait of an outsider with an acquisitive taste and an indomitable spirit, this biographical essay is drawn with equal parts fascination and compassion.

More About the Author

Alan Bennett is a renowned playwright and essayist, a succession of whose plays have been staged at the Royal National Theatre and whose screenplay for The Madness of King George was nominated for an Academy Award. He made his first stage appearance with Beyond the Fringe and his latest play was The Lady in the Van with Maggie Smith. Episodes from his award-winning Talking Heads series have been shown on PBS. His first novel, The Clothes They Stood Up In, was published in 2000. He lives in London.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
There are two stories in this slim package, both dealing with people’s relationships with their possessions.

In the first, Mr. and Mrs. Ransome return from the opera to find their flat totally empty. The casserole has disappeared along with the oven, and even the toilet paper’s gone. Mr. Ransome mostly misses his stereo equipment (and of course the toilet paper) but cheers up when he remembers that he can upgrade his technology with the insurance refund.

Mrs. Ransome quickly gets over her shock, and begins shopping for the bare essentials to tide them over until the insurance cheque arrives. During this exercise, she rediscovers the simple things and learns that life without all her accumulated baggage isn’t that bad after all.

When the mystery is revealed, Mrs. Ransome has a whole new outlook on life, and although her husband has also changed, he hasn’t evolved as much as she has. This is a story with some very funny bits, but also with some important messages for all of us.

The other (shorter) story is about an eccentric woman who makes her home in a van, surrounded by everything she owns. Also very funny, it is so rich in description that your nose turns up whenever the author takes you inside the van.

If you’re looking for an entertaining read, and don’t feel like tackling a whole book, this one is highly recommended.

Amanda Richards, April 1, 2006
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By James D. Watts Jr. on September 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
"The Clothes They Stood Up In" are all Mr. and Mrs. Ransome have left when they return to their London apartment after spending the evening at the opera. That's because they've been robbed -- well, burgled, as Mr. Ransome points out. People are robbed, premises are burgled.
And the Ransomes have been burgled down to the floorboards. Everything is gone. Not just the minor valuables like the jewelry Mrs. Ransome had, and the almost-but-not-quite state-of-the-art stereo system Mr. Ransome used to listen to his beloved Mozart, are missing. The rugs are gone, and the furniture that sat on top of them. The kitchen appliances are gone, as is the casserole Mrs. Ransome had in the oven to be ready for them when they returned from "Cosi fan tutti." The burglars even made off with the toilet paper roll that was on the spindle in the loo.
This slim, compact tale is the first work of fiction Bennett has published, although he's been writing for some 40 years. He's close to being a national literary treasure in his native England, for his plays like "A Question of Attribution" and "An Englishman Abroad," television programs like the series of monologues titled "Talking Heads" (some of which were broadcast as a part of "Masterpiece Theater" in the U.S.), films like "A Private Function" and "The Madness of King George."
"The Clothes They Stood Up In" has all the hallmarks of Bennett's work. It's concise and understated the story takes less time to read than you need to listen to, well, to "Cosi fan tutti." It's suffused with a gentle wit that occasionally rises to passages of laugh-out-loud hilarity. It also reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the characters with a mix of compassion and unflinching honesty.
Those weaknesses quickly become apparent. Mr.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By crazyforgems on June 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
What a delightful find--these two short stories challenge the reader to think about the meaning of material possessions and what constitutes a home.
The first short story, "The Clothes They Stood Up In," tells of a well-heeled London couple who return to their flat to find everything gone. Everything, even the toilet paper roll--The story chronicles their journey through their stages of grief over the loss of their assets and in many ways, their mutual life.
The second short story is actually true. Bennett, the author, tells the unusual story of a homeless London woman whose van was parked in his driveway for more than fifteen years. At times, it is poignant, humorous, and profound.
The two pieces together make a significant statement on materialism in today's world.
I would recommend this book to individuals who cherish the subtleties of British humor and to those who like short pieces with provocative ideas.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By MLPlayfair on December 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
Bennett gives us two totally different stories -- one fiction, one true. In "CLOTHES," the characters lose absolutely everything and turn out to have surprising reactions to the crime. It leaves you thinking. Yet the characters are almost cartoon-like, as if it's all a dream. In "LADY," Bennett presents one of the most interesting characters in literature -- definitely unlikable, but really fascinating.
What does it mean to have nothing? What do you have left when you have "nothing"? Bennett's a great comic writer, but I wouldn't say hilarity abounds in either of these stories. Rather, there's more subtle humor, irony. Warning: DO NOT read the introduction first. It gives away the major plot points, which are most delightful only when they sneak up on you as you read the stories themselves. Whatever you do, don't miss "THE LADY IN THE VAN."
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Hendry VINE VOICE on December 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Clothes They Stood Up in and The Lady in the Van are two very charming, very witty works--one is a novella, the other an extended essay about a most unusual woman Alan Bennett was acquainted with for many years. The novella concerns a couple whose possessions are all taken from them--all but the clothes on their back. The essay concerns an eccentric woman who lived in a van on Bennett's property. Both pieces are very funny and both ruminate on the nature of possessions and acquisitiveness effectively. These are enjoyable, breezy works.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?