A short novel about "bohemians" living on barges on Battersea Reach in London in the 1960s. The children are especially amusing and well done.
This is a good little read. Quick. Easy. And with some very quirky and interesting characters. Nicely done.
Full review here: http://www.671books.net/fiction/offshore/
"Offshore" by Penelope Fitzgerald was a novel I really liked. Set amongst a - somewhat - claustrophobic cast of quaint people living on near-derelict boats on the Thames within London, the story unfolded gradually and naturally. My only complaint is to nitpick and say that the 6 year-old and 12 year-old girls behaved as if they were older. I would have put them at 11 and 14 years old. And the Austrian boy seemed more like an 18 year old than a 16 year old. The "date" scene seemed weird and odd if it really was taking place between a 12 and 16 year old. As I say, I just imagined the two to be older than what Penelope Fitzgerald said they were. Even the mother Nenna, who was 32, seemed to be given a past incompatible with her age. I doubt she was a camp counsellor at the age of 10, and yet Fitzgerald had a scene where she recalls her past before the war when she would have been 10. The story is set explicitly in 1961. I think Penelope Fitzgerald either didn't count on her fingers or mis-judged the age of her characters. But that is just nitpicking. I really enjoyed the book.
Mannered and a bit dated but still delightful.
Very nice writing about houseboat dwellers on the Thames. Good character descriptions, beautiful turns of phrase, and some drama.
Penelope Fitzgerald's books are small wonders. This story, about a group of barge dwellers in London in 1961, is told in her typically economical and subtlely witty prose. It won the Booker Prize in 1979.
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