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Master Georgie
BERYL BAINBRIDGE

Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge
25 reviews (1998) (190p)
Man Booker Prize Finalist
ALA Notable Books - Fiction Finalist

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Book Description
The highly acclaimed New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 1998 and Booker Prize Nominee that reinvents the historical novel from Beryl Bainbridge, the distinguished author of The Birthday Boys and Every Man For Himself.

A misadventure in a brothel links the destiny of the enigmatic George Hardy, a surgeon and amateur photographer, to a foundling who becomes his obsessively devoted maid, a wily street boy who takes advantage of his sexual ambiguity, and his alternately philosophical and libidinous brother-in-law in this terse, searing novel that takes them from the comfortable parlors of Victorian Liverpool to the horrific battlefields of the Crimean War.


Amazon.com Review
Beryl Bainbridge seems drawn to disaster. First she tackled the unfortunate Scott expedition to the South Pole in The Birthday Boys; later (but emphatically pre-DiCaprio) came the sinking of the Titanic, in Every Man for Himself. Now, in her 3rd historical novel (and her 16th overall), she takes on the Crimean War, and the result is a slim, gripping volume with all of the doomed intensity of the Light Brigade's charge--but, thankfully, without the Tennysonian bombast. "Some pictures," a character confides, "would only cause alarm to ordinary folk." There's a warning concealed here, and one that easily disturbed readers would do well to heed: Master Georgie is intense, disturbing, revelatory--and not always pretty to look at.

Bainbridge's narrative circles round the enigmatic figure of George Hardy, a surgeon, amateur photographer, alcoholic, and repressed homosexual who counters the dissipation of his prosperous Liverpool life by heading for the Crimean Peninsula in 1854. His journey and subsequent tour of duty are told in three very different voices: Myrtle, an orphan whose lifelong loyalty to her "Master Georgie" becomes an overriding obsession; Pompey Jones, street urchin, fire-eater, photographer, and George's sometime lover; and Dr. Potter, George's scholarly brother-in-law, whose retreat from the war's carnage and into books takes on a tinge of madness.

United by a sudden death in a Liverpool brothel in 1846, these characters plumb the curious workings of love, war, class, and fate. In between, Bainbridge frames an unforgettable series of tableaux morts: a dying soldier, one lens of his glasses "fractured into a spider's web"; a decapitated leg, toes "poking through the shreds of a cavalry boot"; two dead men "on their knees, facing one another, propped up by the pat-a-cake thrust of their hands." Glimpsed as if sidewise and then passed over in language that is as understated as it is lovely, these are images that sear into the brain. Master Georgie is full of such moments, horrors painted with an exquisite brush. --Mary Park


Other Award Winning Books by Beryl Bainbridge
Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge
20 reviews (1996) (224p) (Booker) (LATimes)
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The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge
  reviews (1994) (p) (ALA)
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An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge
11 reviews (1990) (240p) (Booker)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page

Beryl Bainbridge Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 5  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 4  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 3 An Awfully Big Adventure · Every Man for Himself · Master Georgie ·  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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