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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress Paperback – August 30, 2011

3.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Maverick, unique and horribly funny." — Alison Flood, "The Guardian"

"A genuine original with a macabre imagination." — "The New York Review of Books"

"Maverick, unique and horribly funny."

"A genuine original with a macabre imagination."

"Maverick, unique and horribly funny."--Alison Flood, "The Guardian"

"Beryl Bainbridge''s novels are like elegant teacups that contain a st--Francine Prose, "The New York Times"

"Beryl Bainbridge's novels are like elegant teacups that contain a strong, dark, possibly sinister but remarkable brew. Models of compression, they show us how much can be poured into a deceptively delicate vessel." --Francine Prose, "The New York Times"

""The Girl In The Polk Dot Dress" is a superb and memorable work of fiction."--"The Guardian"

"One of the most distinctive and admired voices in postwar British fiction."--- William Grimes, "The New York Times"

"A genuine original with a macabre imagination."--"The New York Review of Books"

About the Author

Beryl Bainbridge was the author of seventeen novels. The Dressmaker, The Bottle Factory Outing, An Awfully Big Adventure, Every Man For Himself and Master Georgie were all finalists for the Booker Prize, and Every Man For Himself won the Whitbread Novel of the Year Prize. The Guardian includes The Bottle Factory Outing on their list of the 100 Greatest Novels of All Time. An Awfully Big Adventure was adapted for a film starring Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman.

Beryl Bainbridge died in July 2010.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; 1 edition (August 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609450566
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609450564
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,146,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress was the book that Beryl Bainbridge was in the process of writing at the time of her death in July 2010. Published posthumously, without any additional material added, the novel does seem to be largely complete, even if it ends somewhat abruptly and does have something of an unfinished feel to it. There are however a number of elements in the book and some intriguing characterisation that do come together to certainly warrant the publication of the author's final work.

Although not approached directly, the question of parental neglect, abuse and childhood suffering comes up a lot in The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress, particularly in relation to the consequences it has on people in later life. It's certainly features in the past of the two main characters, an American known as Washington Harold and a thirty-year old English woman called Rose, an unlikely couple who team-up together for a trip across the USA - from Baltimore to Chicago and ultimately down to Los Angeles - on the trail of the elusive Dr. Wheeler, a man who features significantly in both their pasts.

What is intriguing about the trip across the USA is that it is set in the summer of 1968, during a significant period in American history. The assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King are still fresh in the mind of a nation that is torn between the past and an uncertain modern world, with firmly held beliefs and strong divisions among them. As Rose and Harold make their road trip across the country, the nature of this uncertainty is reflected in the nature of the people they encounter and in a series of strange violent events that they find themselves witness to and caught up in.
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Format: Paperback
When she died in July, 2010, Beryl Bainbridge, Dame Commander of the British Empire, had been working for the preceding six months on this novel, The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress. Nearly completed at the time of her death, this novel is her twentieth, including five which were nominated for the Booker Prize and two (Injury Time in 1977 and Every Man for Himself in 1996) which won Whitbread Awards. Despite the literary honors, Bainbridge has always been a remarkably accessible author with a mordant wit, a sense of the absurdity of life, a darkly comic approach to her offbeat characters, and an undercurrent of violence which springs to life in unexpected ways.

Set in June, 1968, just before the death of Robert F. Kennedy, this novel opens with Harold Grasse greeting Rose, whom he regards as "Wheeler's woman," at the airport in Baltimore. Rose has come to the United States from Scotland to try to reconnect with "Dr. Wheeler," who played an important role in helping her to deal with her miserable childhood. The mysterious Dr. Wheeler is working on the campaign of Robert F. Kennedy for President, and he is traveling the country, so Harold Grasse has been assigned the task of greeting Rose. Unbeknownst to Rose or some of the other characters, all of whom also seem to know Wheeler, Harold has his own reasons for wanting to find Wheeler.

With the point of view alternating between Rose and Harold, who have nothing in common except their interest in Wheeler, the author shows their complete lack of connection on all levels. Rose is "slack," a young woman who does not bathe or wash her hair often enough to suit the fastidious Harold, a woman with little education and even less intellectual curiosity.
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Format: Paperback
The late Beryl Bainbridge, who died in 2010, is better known in Britain than over here. The winner of the Whitbread Award, and five times shortlisted for the Booker Prize, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2000, joining AS Byatt and preceding Margaret Drabble. She published sixteen novels over the course of her life, and was working on her seventeenth, THE GIRL IN THE POLKA DOT DRESS at the time of her death. Cast in a clear trajectory heading for an unmistakable conclusion, it does not feel unfinished, though the enigmatic compression which I gather is typical of all her books may perhaps be a little more enigmatic here than usual.

This is a road trip novel, reflecting a journey across America that Bainbridge herself made in 1968, but this is a nightmare America where nothing comes quite into focus. A young Englishwoman named Rose, a dental receptionist, arrives from London with a few items in a suitcase and an absurdly small amount of money. Her ticket has been paid for by a man she knows as Washington Harold, who obviously expects a gratifying holiday liaison. But Rose is not as he expected, either in appearance or behavior. She has come to America to reconnect with someone referred to only as Dr. Wheeler, who had somehow been very important to Rose during her adolescence. Harold, it appears, also wants to find Wheeler, though for very different motives which he keeps hidden at first. And Wheeler himself is elusive, both in character and location. At times he seems some kind of preacher or guru; at times a political operative; sometimes even a revolutionary. He never stays in one place for very long.
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