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The Garrick Year Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1983

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (April 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140025499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140025491
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,012,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tip on January 13, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book so much that when I got to the last page, I turned to the first to read it all over again. I got it from a used book shop, after reading a piece about it in the New Yorker, by Roger Angell. I can't imagine why it's out of print. It shouldn't be. If it were released now, it would be a best-seller and would be made into a movie. Such a fabulous read, funny and cool; a young woman married to an actor and all of her astute observations about that superficiality. Set in England, in the 1960's. Moves along well with little surprises, little notions about how to handle life. Brilliant.
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By algo41 on May 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed “The Garrick Year”, but there were sentences and paragraphs in this novel that made no sense to me, even after careful rereading and occasional Googling of English definitions. I did not have this experience in reading Drabble’s “Radiant Way” trilogy. Some of the scenes did not make much sense to me either. In one Emma is nibbling on David’s fingers, she tells him he is “the best”, and his response is to tighten his grasp on her knuckles until it hurts, and says he only gets anywhere (physical) with her by force, he has had “two children by force”. There is no intimation of physical abuse between the couple anywhere else in the novel.

If this were an American novel, I would say Emma was more a woman of the fifties than the sixties. She is a risk taker, competent and self confident, bright and creative in her own way, but does not identify women with careers, although she is upset about having to give up a job as a newscaster which she gets through connections. The novel at the end is a paean to motherhood, but it is hardly Emma’s goal in life to be a homemaker. Style and excitement is what inspire her.

The novel has its humor. There is the 2 year old carefully eating her peas one at a time. There is Emma and David’s marriage, in which they each secretly read all the other’s mail, but are not particularly jealous. There is the scene between Emma and Wyndham(SPOILER ALERT): Emma bewails that she can’t go through with the affair, but what else is there in her life; Wyndham says she can start having affairs in 15 years when the children are grown; Emma responds “But I’ll be so old.”
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Format: Kindle Edition
I picked up a rather beat-up copy of this book, a second printing (1965), from the "free" box at the Brunswick (GA) regional library, and I'm sure glad I did. Even tho this book is - my goodness! - 50 years old, the story still holds up today, tho there are references to a few people that of course we would have no idea about today.

The book is told from the POV of Emma, a sophisticated Londoner with a husband and two small children. She gives up her job as a newcaster and some-time model to follow her actor husband to a small country town where he's taken a job for the season. This despite her objections, of course.

I absolutely loved Emma's voice. She's at once in love with her children and bewildered by them; angered and bored by her husband and the situation he's put them in; bored by the town they're in; bored by the theater and annoyed that everyone asks if she's an actress... She likes being shocking and daring in her dress and speech, yet this makes the people in the town simply think she belongs with the theater... and she manages to make her story ever so interesting to read.

The descriptions are engaging, the dialogue is true, and I feel like I'm there with her... my only negative comment is that I'm not crazy about the title; I believe it refers to a playwright by the name of Garrick, but I was never quite sure.

And of course, it's terribly interesting that even lo these many years later, women are still being forced to choose between their careers and their husbands, and are following their husbands across the country to support their jobs. (I may or may not have done this myownself.)

Highly recommended.
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More About the Author

Margaret Drabble is the author of The Sea Lady, The Seven Sisters, The Peppered Moth, and The Needle's Eye, among other novels. She has written biographies of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson, and she is the editor of the fifth and sixth editions of The Oxford Companion to English Literature. For her contributions to contemporary English literature, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2008.

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