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The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress Paperback – August 30, 2011
A girl with loyalty to both sides in a war—and the dangerous opportunity to save lives. Learn More
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"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 died in July 2010.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An odd, slight, oddly touching and slightly naff story of a road trip to oblivion, culminating in the death of RFK; but is the dysfunctional, libidinous Rose 'the girl in the polka... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Peter Jakobsen
Not the best pick from my book club. No one really loved it. Good not great. It was underwhelming to say the least.Published on September 9, 2012 by Elizabeth