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A Quiet Life convinced me to take Beryl Bainbridge out of the box marked undoubtedly an excellent author, but probably not for me We got along rather well.And now I have read Sweet William we are getting along even better.I could describe Sweet William in many ways Romantic comedy Social satire Black comedy But, for now, let s just say that it s a very good book.Ann s life seemed to be sailing along rather nicely She had a good job, as a secretary at the BBC And she had a fianc , A Quiet Life convinced me to take Beryl Bainbridge out of the box marked undoubtedly an excellent author, but probably not for me We got along rather well.And now I have read Sweet William we are getting along even better.I could describe Sweet William in many ways Romantic comedy Social satire Black comedy But, for now, let s just say that it s a very good book.Ann s life seemed to be sailing along rather nicely She had a good job, as a secretary at the BBC And she had a fianc , Gerald, a sensible, successful academic Gerald had a new job in the USA, and plans were afoot for Ann to join him there once he had settled in.Her mother doesn t approve of her lifestyle Though, as the sixties become the seventies, Ann is less modern than many, her mother is the product of a very different era That helps to place the story, and its a nice counterbalance to the main storyline.Gerald has barely left when Ann meets William a tall, blond, charming playwright He sweeps her off her feet, and straight into bed Ann is besotted and she readily agrees to write to Gerald to break off their relationship, to share her home with Willliam, and to giving up her job to look after their relationship, their home, his career.Warning bells would be ringing for some, but not for Ann.After all, William had been wonderful when her cousin Pamela came to stay, pregnant and wanting an abortion Something that was still illegal at the time He went out of his way to be helpful and supportive.But then William started to disappear at odd times, and any number of women were making the telephone and the doorbell ring, looking for the elusive William.It seemed that he charmed every woman he met.Ann was slow to realise that William was a philanderer, sliding through life on charm, weaving a web of lies and deceit to protect him from the consequences of his actions.I hoped that Ann would catch on and move on And I hoped that William would get his just desserts.This is very much of a story of its time, but it still works because the characters are timeless There are still Anns and Williams in this world, and I have no doubt at all that similar relationships are being played out.It s a simple story, but its eventful, and it carried me along at just the right pace I had no doubt that the author understood, and she told her tale so well.There s intelligence There s satire There s wit There s emotion And it all works together beautifully.What I appreciated most was being able to understand Ann s emotions as she was first besotted and then sadly disappointed.I m only disappointed that I ve read two books by Beryl Bainbridge and neither will fit into my Century of Books I ve spotted two books that would fit I could go back in time to A Weekend With Claude or forward in time to The Dressmaker They re both in the library, and I d be quite happy to have another encounter with Beryl Sometimes I really enjoy Bainbridge s sharp, often acerbic, short novels, but at other times they just don t work for me, and I m afraid this is one that didn t work It s a banal enough tale Ann is recently engaged but then is swept off her feet by the dynamic and charismatic William and suddenly all the security and certainties of her life are upended She s powerless to resist him and I just couldn t see why He s too much of a caricature to be a sympathetic character although I understan Sometimes I really enjoy Bainbridge s sharp, often acerbic, short novels, but at other times they just don t work for me, and I m afraid this is one that didn t work It s a banal enough tale Ann is recently engaged but then is swept off her feet by the dynamic and charismatic William and suddenly all the security and certainties of her life are upended She s powerless to resist him and I just couldn t see why He s too much of a caricature to be a sympathetic character although I understand he s based on the writer Alan Sharp with whom Bainbridge had a relationship, and, she claims, the character is not exaggerated and I didn t feel any empathy for Ann and her plight Well written, as all Bainbridge s novels are, but this one missed the mark for me Sweet William by Beryl Bainbridge 4 stars 8 out of 10I have read several books by Beryl Bainbridge in the past, so was pleased to have the opportunity to read this novel Sweet William tells the story of Ann, a rather naive young woman, whose life is turned upside down on meeting William, a self declared playwright The story is told primarily from Ann s point of view, but the reader, again and again, suspects and eventually knows just how much she is deluding herself.Bainbridge writes with Sweet William by Beryl Bainbridge 4 stars 8 out of 10I have read several books by Beryl Bainbridge in the past, so was pleased to have the opportunity to read this novel Sweet William tells the story of Ann, a rather naive young woman, whose life is turned upside down on meeting William, a self declared playwright The story is told primarily from Ann s point of view, but the reader, again and again, suspects and eventually knows just how much she is deluding herself.Bainbridge writes with wit and verve I found the account of the harvest festival very funny, and the description of Ann s Christmas with her parents displays Bainbridge s acerbic wit to its full Yet Bainbridge still allows us to develop sympathy for many of the characters in the novel.For example, Ann s mother, whilst she has many unsympathetic characteristics, provides several poignant moments It was a pleasure to read this book, and I am glad that it has been republished.The section at the end of the book containing photographs of Beryl Bainbridge is a bonus.Thank you to Open Road Integrated Media and to NetGalley for an ARC Ann is a young woman who works at the BBC in London and when we first meet her she is waving off her fianc , academic who is flying to America to start a new life Soon Ann will follow Ann s mother is very proud of the new life, less enamoured it would seem of Gerard, the fianc particularly his carnal desires, in reality than on paper.I wonder how differently this story would play out if it was set now, and not in the midst of the sexual revolution Why Because Ann meets William, a married ma Ann is a young woman who works at the BBC in London and when we first meet her she is waving off her fianc , academic who is flying to America to start a new life Soon Ann will follow Ann s mother is very proud of the new life, less enamoured it would seem of Gerard, the fianc particularly his carnal desires, in reality than on paper.I wonder how differently this story would play out if it was set now, and not in the midst of the sexual revolution Why Because Ann meets William, a married man who captivates and thrills Ann in a way Gerard never has William visits Ann s bed and then cycles off to look after his children while their mother works and has a font of bizarre tales to distract from his frequent absences, the furtive phone calls and crucially his intentions However William is an important man, he is putting on a play which will tour England, and even though Ann is less than impressed by the play itself, she understands that her role is to support, so out goes the job at the BBC so that she can devote herself to this exceptional man Oh the irony.This is not only Ann s story but in the shadows are other women connected to William, the wife, the mother, her landlady, her cousin and those women who phone up looking for him at odd times of the night and day It is also the story of Ann s mother, a woman who lives in Brighton with Ann s father, a man who seems entirely eclipsed by his indomitable wife, who represents those who lived before the sexual revolution.Ann felt it was funny that anyone should call Mrs Walton ordinary It wasn t an adequate word She thought of her mother s piano playing her scheming, her ability to read French, the strength of her convictions, the inflexibility of her dreadful will.The truth is that when Ann met William, she was woefully unprepared, she s an unworldly girl who it seems has none of the support that most women today enjoy Perhaps because the women that knew them both were complicit in covering up William s fickle ways, his selfishness and his disregard for Ann s feelings.She didn t know enough about men Her mother said they were brutes, self absorbed and secretive But William wasn t like that he was open and he loved her and he had forced her to meet his wife.This love story takes a turn for the worse, as well you might expect but there is plenty of black humour, something that Beryl Bainbridge employs to great effect To be honest the black humour is made infinitely easier because I don t think I am the first person to read this book who wants to shake Ann and truly open her eyes to the half truths she knows So while I felt a smidgen of sympathy for her plight, I couldn t believe she couldn t see what was right in front of her After all William may have lied but when pushed he really makes the situation very obvious But Edna needs to look after me I give her money for the housekeeping she doesn t want to be done out of cooking for me Who am I to deny her that He bent his head humbly There was a flaw in his argument, she knew, but she couldn t put it into words He d denied Edna everything else it didn t seem particularly cruel to tell her he didn t want any food.TheI read of this author s work, theI enjoy it Beryl Bainbridge is definitely my find of the year with her exceptionally clever writing and yet still immensely readable This black comedy published in 1975 both conjures up a bygone time and yet, I know that Sweet William still exists, maybe in a slightly different guise, although I suspect this was his true era, when there were plenty of na ve women just waiting to fall for his charms and willing to shake of the older generation s morals that had protected the majority of previous generations.I received my copy of Sweet William from the publishers Open Road Integrated Media who are republishing a number of this authors books, this one on 29 November 2016 In Sweet William, Beryl Bainbridge takes the darkly comedic tone that she previously used in her novel The Bottle Factory Outing and turns it into something evenbitingly ironic and disturbing This marked change is in part due to the focused subject matter of this novel The novel s unassertive protagonist, Ann, finds herself swept up into a bizarre relationship with a playwright, despite being engaged to a professor I think the comedy of this novel in part stems from the fact that Ann ha In Sweet William, Beryl Bainbridge takes the darkly comedic tone that she previously used in her novel The Bottle Factory Outing and turns it into something evenbitingly ironic and disturbing This marked change is in part due to the focused subject matter of this novel The novel s unassertive protagonist, Ann, finds herself swept up into a bizarre relationship with a playwright, despite being engaged to a professor I think the comedy of this novel in part stems from the fact that Ann has somehow caught the attention of two relatively intelligent and academic men, despite the fact that she is relatively dull and mousy in comparison In some ways, she is very much like Bainbridge s character Brenda in The Bottle Factory Outing Essentially, Ann is a soft touch Yet perhaps it is Ann s unworldly timidity that makes her an easy target for William s dominant perceptions and cajoling ways Throughout the novel, Ann is described as lofty someone in a constant state of befuddlement and stubborn confusion However, this almost dreamlike hypnotic state can t entirely be attributed to William s presence alone Her interactions with her mother and her fianc Gerald at the novel s outset also convey that same lack of clearheadedness While Ann could arguably be described as a naive innocent, her inflexible willfulness undermines her irreproachability That said, Ann does experience moments of sudden awakening moments where she recognizes that something is not right and will act on impulse to correct the situation However, these steps are only half heartedly made, since she ultimately finds herself reverting back to and accepting the way things were the prior dreamlike fantasies preferable to the stark and barren reality she must face The story itself can be quite disturbing to the reader, especially considering how easily it was for Ann to fall into this dependent relationship with William From a psychological standpoint, however, the novel makes for a compelling study, especially considering Bainbridge s later admission that William s character was in part modeled after her ex lover Alan Sharp Another asset of the book is Bainbridge s adept use of irony Her verbal attacks are always on point Even a baby s cry is used to maximum effect, yielding a strong final commentary regarding what has come about and what perhaps will come to be Copy provided by NetGalley This wasn t my favorite Bainbridge While it is written in her distinctive style, with carefully observed detail, I didn t understand the characters or their motivation As a result, I wanted to slap the women and run as fast as I could away from the men |DOWNLOAD E-PUB ⚉ Sweet William ♱ Genteel, passive Ann works for the BBC in London and is engaged to a successful academic, fulfilling her mother s ambitions while the Swinging Sixties happen elsewhere, to other people Then she meets William snub nosed and generous, cunning and protean She is first seduced then transfixed as William s past, present and future swirl around her kaleidoscopically, overwhelmingly, and Ann herself is irrevocably changed For her sixth novel, Bainbridge returned to one of her favourite themes the tension between the old world of traditional English values and Sixties permissiveness for want of a better word Although an enticing era and one that was likely a whole lotexciting to live in than our own of iPhones, JD Wetherspoon and Beyonc , the open mindedness of the age was so often an excuse for men in particular to behave very selfishly and so it proves with the eponymous figure that lends this e For her sixth novel, Bainbridge returned to one of her favourite themes the tension between the old world of traditional English values and Sixties permissiveness for want of a better word Although an enticing era and one that was likely a whole lotexciting to live in than our own of iPhones, JD Wetherspoon and Beyonc , the open mindedness of the age was so often an excuse for men in particular to behave very selfishly and so it proves with the eponymous figure that lends this excellent character study its name Why the various women in the novel keep on forgiving and returning to the cad at the centre of the book is a mystery to all of us even if most of us have been there to lesser or greater degrees As with most Bainbridge novels I have read, the opportunity to afford a book a rating of 3 and a half stars would have been welcome Found this Virago Classic at the library, and loved it I had never heard of Beryl Bainbridge but I ll be searching outof her books after reading this one.Ann lives and works in London, she has a fiancee and a quiet settled life Onto the scene bursts William, and Ann s life is turned upside down Suddenly two worlds collide and Ann, totally besotted, throws caution to the wind, gives up the job, the fiancee and her flat and hitches herself to the bohemian, creative William A deceptively Found this Virago Classic at the library, and loved it I had never heard of Beryl Bainbridge but I ll be searching outof her books after reading this one.Ann lives and works in London, she has a fiancee and a quiet settled life Onto the scene bursts William, and Ann s life is turned upside down Suddenly two worlds collide and Ann, totally besotted, throws caution to the wind, gives up the job, the fiancee and her flat and hitches herself to the bohemian, creative William A deceptively charming man appears suddenly and creates havoc We all know where this is going to end up, but it is the dialogue that I found quite hilarious Clever and hilarious I enjoyed this novel, originally published in the 70s, with it s engaging story lines and characters Although, I strangely didn t like the characters I thought Ann needed a good talking to to snap out of her silliness over a totally rubbish bloke But, thank goodness we re not living in the 1960s 70s now with restrictive lives for women I m not sure why I ve not given it 4 stars maybe because I wanted the characters, or Ann and Pamela at least, to be stronger,pro active.