A group of eccentric friends makes a mess of their shared holiday in this witty novel from one of Britain’s best-loved authors.
When Claude stumbles upon an old photo, memories of a weekend spent in the company of his friends come back in full force. In the snapshot are Lily, a thick-ankled girl who is unlucky in love; Edward, the “awfully quiet and awfully nice” geologist Lily is trying to woo; “Victorian Norman,” a factory worker and Marxist romantic; and Shebah, an elderly Jewish drama queen who used to be in show business. But during their country-house holiday, there was deception and drama lurking behind the scenes.
Through the voices of each of Claude’s guests, author Beryl Bainbridge weaves a darkly comic tale of everyday people grasping for love—or lust—as a means of revolt against the mundane normalcy of their lives. Confined for a night and a day, they make a muck of all social pleasantries and put their friendships on the line.
First written in 1967, then revised and republished in 1982, A Weekend with Claude marks a stylistic departure from Bainbridge’s renowned third-person novels, such as The Bottle Factory Outing and Injury Time. Yet the master writer’s singular morbidity and black humor abound, making this a welcome and entertaining read with “the kind of dreamy, evocative quality we associate with the films of Éric Rohmer” (TheNew York Times).