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At Mrs Lippincote's (Virago Modern Classics) Paperback – April 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Virago Modern Classics (Book 278)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Virago UK (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844083098
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844083091
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Taylor launched her career with this 1945 novel, which describes the marital troubles of Julia and her RAF officer husband, Roddy. Julia and her son reside at Mrs. Lippincote's house in order to be near Roddy. Julia and Roddy's already troubled relationship is strained to the max by internal and external influences. A good soap opera.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

'A book for the epicure, who will delight in its deftness, its congression, its under- and overtones' L.P. HARTLEY 'One of the most underarted novelists of the 20th century', Antonia Fraser 'Elizabeth Taylor had the keenest eye and ear for the pain lurking behind a genteel demeanour' Paul Bailey, Guardian 'Taylor excels in conveying the tragicomic poignancy of the everyday' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'Jane Austen, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Bowen - soul-sisters all' Anne Tyler 'Always intelligent, often subversive and never dull, Elizabeth Taylor is the thinking person's dangerous housewife' Valerie Martin, Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 'Sophisticated, sensitive and brilliantly amusing, with a kind of stripped, piercing feminine wit' Rosamund Lehmann

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jay Dickson VINE VOICE on October 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
The grossly neglected English novelist Elizabeth Taylor once admitted in an autobiographical note that she enjoyed reading novels "where practically nothing ever happens." Such is the world of her own fiction, as beautifully demonstrated in this her first novel, published in 1945, which shows how much emotionally can happen in a world of practical inaction.

Billeted temporarily to the village and home of the eponymous Mrs. Lippincote to be near her husband, an officer in the RAF, Julia Davenant is expected to be a model officer's wife, serving meals to her husband's commanding officers, joining in the fun had by his fellows and their wives, and behaving so as not to attract attention or to embarrass him. Reminded of these obligations by the model of the domestic Lippincotes that surrounds her in her new home, she chooses instead to escape into an inner world of observation and intellectual reflection as she cares for her husband, her sickly son, and her husband's censorious "odd woman" cousin Eleanor who serves as both company and as foil for the nonconformist Julia. Little happens for a long time in this novel from a practical standpoint though much happens within Julia's and Eleanor's consciousnesses (through which most of this novel is focalized) to prepare us for the explosion at the end of the novel that changes their lives forever, a formal device taylor often replicated in her later novels.

This early work shows Taylor's debts to her friend Ivy Compton-Burnett more clearly than in her later work: as with Burnett, more is indicated through the undercurrents of dialgue than is explicitly said. so that we must interpret (as the characters themselves both do and do not) what is really happening belwo the surface of their comments.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kate Smart on January 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was reading the Atlantic Monthly which featured an article about Elizabeth Taylor; an author I had never heard of. I have since read Mrs. Lippincote and enjoyed it so much. The writing is intelligent, warm, and funny. It is deliciously English, and considering it was written in the 1940's, surprisingly modern. I am going to read everything this woman wrote - what a pleasant surprise, and I am so grateful to the Atlantic Monthly for making people aware of this fantastic writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maren Robinson on January 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
Elizebeth Taylor has a way with words, a way of phrasing sentiments one has felt but never expressed so well. She is splendid at dissecting the scenes of ordinary life with all their frustration and boredom. In At Mrs. Lippincote's she shines a brilliant lamp on the lives of Julia Davenant and her RAF husband Roddy, their son Oliver and Roddy's cousin Eleanor. Stationed out of London during World War II, they stay at the furnished home of Mrs. Lippincote, but the strangeness of living in someone else's home seems to reflect the strangeness and drabness of the trappings of ordinary life: a dirty white coat, a child's illness, or a cheap porcelain swan.

Some of the best scenes revolve around the way the child Oliver blends the world of the books he reads with the world around him, freely mixing fantasy with dull reality.

She reveals the inner lives of her characters in short scenes and much like life does not attempt tidy resolutions but allows her stories to breath in glorious messiness. At the same time, her own choice of words has the precision of a scalpel pulling back layers with deft flicks of her wrist. She may not be to the taste of the reader who demands a lot of plot, but for those who enjoy subtle portraits of characters, she is well worth being rediscovered.
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful By CORGILISA on May 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sorry , Elizabeth Taylor fans, I found this book opaque and pointless. A pissed off housewife who has to share a house with her school aged son, her indifferent army husband and his female cousin who adores him. And then, not much happens for the whole book. I made myself read it right to the last page as I had read so many gushing accolades for this author. Frustratingly pointless to read.
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