Beryl Bainbridge Long Fiction Analysis
Beryl Bainbridge’s novels run the gamut from thinly veiled autobiographical fiction to the strange and macabre world of murder and madness. For this reason, it is sometimes difficult for critics to provide a clear overview of her work. Nevertheless, for all their variety, Bainbridge’s works do share certain characteristic stylistic and thematic concerns.
All of the novels carry a strong sense of place, created through the use of specific and minute details. Several of Bainbridge’s books, for example, are set in postwar Liverpool. Bainbridge knows this setting well because she was a teenager in Liverpool during these same years. The depiction of working-class Liverpool is heartbreaking in its accuracy; bombed-out, gritty, and cold, Liverpool and its residents struggled through the late 1940’s and 1950’s to regain their footing. Her work is not restricted to Liverpool, however. Bainbridge is equally on target with her descriptions of the Antarctic in The Birthday Boys, the bridge of the Titanic in Every Man for Himself, and eighteenth century England in According to Queeney.
What is particularly striking is that Bainbridge’s strong and accurate evocation of place is accompanied by her ability to push the edges of narrative reliability. That is, she makes certain in her work that her reader can never be sure that the narrative voice of the novel speaks the truth. For Bainbridge, it seems, there...
(The entire section is 1250 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Beryl Bainbridge Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!