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Under the Duvet: Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and Other Calamities Paperback – January 6, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 315 pages
  • Publisher: Perennial; 1 edition (January 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060562080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060562083
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #631,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Romance writer Keyes reads these unpublished pieces and essays and articles from The Irish Tatler and other UK publications. The contents are often witty and almost confessional, ranging over dieting, house hunting, wedding plans, book tour escapades and tribulations, and other personal ruminations that give a good insight into the unglamorous life of the author. Keyes and her family, especially her husband, become endearing characters who transcend and explain their fictional counterparts. A highly entertaining alternative.
Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From Booklist

Best-selling Irish author Keyes is known for her sassy, warmhearted women's fiction (Sushi for Beginners [BKL Je 1 & 15 03]; Angels [My 15 02]). She is also a journalist, and this collection of 47 nonfiction pieces, most of which have been published previously in magazines and newspapers, sports her trademark irreverent spin on issues close to a woman's heart. The short articles are grouped into seven sections dealing with the writing life, personal possessions, friends and family, acting like an adult, holidays, Irishness, and travel abroad. Topics include women's obsession with shoes, the fitting-into-the-wedding-dress diet, buying a house, and Botox and other miracles. She is especially funny on the topic of marriage--after her husband requests her assistance in finding his cuff links at 7 a.m., she chants, "The womb is not a locating device." She is serious in spots, as when she discusses her alcoholism, and some of the pieces seem dated (most are from the late '90s). Still, her fans will want to get an up-close look at this wildly popular author. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Marian Keyes lived in London for ten years before returning to her native Dublin. After receiving a law degree and studying accounting, she began writing short stories in 1993. She is the author of three previous novels--Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, and Rachel's Holiday--all major bestsellers around the world.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
Under the Duvet is the latest of a small genre that consists of the short non-fiction works (columns, essays, random thoughts) of writers who are better-known for their novels. Alice Thomas Ellis, who is best-known for The Summer Trilogy novels, also wrote the Home Life series, a collection of columns about her everyday life in Wales. Sue Townsend wrote the Adrian Mole stories and recently published a collection of columns about her everyday life called The Public Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman. Amy Tan collects her musings and thoughts in The Opposite of Fate. Writers who are successful in spinning good stories seem to be able to take mundane situations and turn them into good stories. This is a real treat for people like me who read very little fiction.
So how does Marian Keyes's new book measure up? Under the Duvet starts promisingly, with a short piece about her life as a not-so-glamorous novelist, and a previously unpublished essay about the eight months she wrote a cosmetics column for a magazine. These are probably the best bits in the book.
Maybe you do have to enjoy the fiction of the author to also enjoy their non-fiction. I confess I have not read any of Keyes's fiction. There's too much in Under the Duvet about shopping and shoes for my taste, but readers of Keyes's fiction might find that a plus.
Some of the pieces are on subjects that desperately need an original angle, but are not getting it here. For instance, on her trip to Los Angeles, Keyes predictably mentions the smog, silicone enhancements, and botox, and the fact that no one walks. I probably wouldn't have noticed her over-fondness for the word "eejit" (idiot) if I had read these pieces over time, rather than in two days.
Still, I enjoyed reading these essays and columns, and although they haven't inspired me to read Keyes's fiction, I will continue to hunt down books like this. Anyone know of any others?
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kate on January 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
Under the Duvet is a collection of essays by Keyes, most of which were previously published in Irish or British newpapers. It does give you a deeper look into the author's life, with chapters about moving back to Ireland, her past drinking problems (the inspiration for Watermelon), what a publicity tour is like, etc. There are also loads of columns about somewhat random things- shoes, soccer, mother's day, religon, and Irishness. Everything is well-written and most are funny, but I think they're more suited to newspaper features than a whole book.
Note: I have the Brit edition, so the American edition may be slightly different.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter.com on January 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
Some people take to their beds to escape from their lives; Marian Keyes takes to her bed in order to reflect on her life. She really does spend her days "under the duvet," comfortably propped up on pillows and typing away on her Sony Vaio laptop. Meanwhile, her husband of nearly a decade, Tony Baines, keeps the home and business fires burning from a more traditional workplace downstairs, communicating with his wife via a dedicated telephone line.
Such a setup has not only allowed Keyes to give full rein to her writing talents; it's given her a pretty great title gimmick, because when you come right down to it, so many things do take place under the duvet (or over, or around, but I digress). Most of the 47 short pieces in this book were written for the Irish Tatler and other magazines and newspapers, which has had some reviewers noting that "Keyes is also a journalist." She modestly points out that this is true insofar as she has produced these works of journalism --- but that she did so after becoming a novelist, when editors began to seek her out for pieces.
However, her modesty is misplaced because those who sought her out were clearly doing so in order to get Keyes's singular take on life, love and the pursuit of more hours for shopping. Smart editors they are, because Keyes not only has a winning way with words but with people as well. She comes alive in her essays as the spark plug of her family --- a person who doesn't believe she is the center of the universe, but around whom the folks naturally gravitate nonetheless.
This serves Keyes particularly well because everything --- a supposedly slimming seaweed wrap, a single kitten-heeled mule --- is fodder for her delightful gristmill of contemporary manners and mores.
Read more ›
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Kaplan on March 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Devotees of Marian Keyes ("Watermelon," "Sushi for Beginners," et al.) will adore this collection of essays and columns, most of them previously published in The Irish Tattler--and some previously unpublished.
These simple, hilarious, and often very poignant peeks into the life of Keyes, which strongly resembles that of many of her main characters, makes the reader smile, sigh, and--in at least one heartfelt column about Keyes' triumph over alcoholism--weep. Those who follow her books will experience some strong deja vu, as whole sections of Keyes' truly baroque life seem to make their way sooner or later to her novels--eg, the famous mudbath that one main character took just before her wedding in order to fit into her dress!
The charm of this book is that it can be picked up and put down at random. Each essay functions on its own, and in fact, the author, in her preface, suggests that the reader simply browse and choose according to his or her mood at that moment. And so I did--and loved every single essay in the book.
A keeper!
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