Category: Fiction / General
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication date: 2 October 1997
Number of pages: 224
Prizes: Winner of Whitbread Book Awards: Novel Category 1996.
Winner of Commonwealth Writer's Prize Best Book Eurasia 1997.
Shortlisted for Booker Prize for Fiction 1996.
Four days into her maiden voyage, RMS Titanic hit an iceberg and sank within 20 minutes, killing 1500 people. Here the story of the lost four days is told by Morgan, the nephew of the owner of the shipping line, his fate linked to the mysterious Scurra who remarks that it's "every man for himself".
Beryl Bainbridge enthralled us with the account of Captain Scott's expedition to the South Pole and here we are with another ill-fated voyage, the maiden voyage of HMS Titanic to New York in 1912. The fact that we know how it will all end in no way detracts from this scintillating novel. The narrator is the nephew of the owner of the shipping line sailing the Titanic. During the four days before disaster strikes we are given glimpses of his troubled past, learn of his ambitions for the future and watch helplessly as he falls for a money-digging American woman who is far more interested in bedding the rich and well-connected men on board. The author vividly conveys the enclosed world, the white-tie dinners, the squash courts and reading rooms and the characters which inhabit them, schemers, dreamers, snobs and social climbers. This tale is a parable - we are all heading blithely to our doom while the band plays on - but it is never clunking. Bainbridge is writing at the top of her talent. A soon as you have finished the book, you will want to read it again, and discover new depths, deeper waters. Booker shortlist 1996. (Kirkus UK)
What the papers say:
Extraordinary... a wholly new and highly individual work of art... beautifully written INDEPENDENT Marvellous... exquisite pacing... stunning descriptions INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY A narrative both sparkling and deep... the cost of raising [the Titanic] is prohibitive; Bainbridge does the next best thing SUNDAY TIMES Bainbridge's masterpiece EVENING STANDARD
Beryl Bainbridge wrote seventeen novels, two travel books and five plays for stage and television, she was shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, and won literary awards including the Whitbread Prize and the Author of the Year Award at the British Book Awards. She died in July 2010.
In Stock: 30 copies