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Paperback Master Bedroom Book

ISBN: 0099499266

ISBN13: 9780099499268

Master Bedroom

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. After more than twenty years in London, Kate Flynn has abandoned her career as an academic, rented her apartment in the city, and moved back to live with her mother in the grand old house beside a...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Unique, Very British Narrative Voice

If you are looking for a novel with a cast of characters you would absolutely never want to know in real life, then this is the book for you. And it was for me. Kate has given up her teaching job -- she really didn't like it anyway -- to return to the house where she was born and where her aging mother and now in early stages of demencia is living. It is a huge house filled with multiple generations worth of everything. On her way, a black swan falls from the sky, landing on Suzie's car, causing an accident. This fact does not emerge again until later in the novel. But Suzie is the second wife of David. And David is the younger brother of Kate's best friend Carol. And David has a son, Jamie, from his first marriage to a woman who committed suicide. Oh, yes, and Suzie has her own set of dysfunctions. This is dysfunctionalism piled on top. But what is fascinating is the narrative style that I grew to like. However, I agree with the person who wrote that this is not a novel one reads quickly. But for me it was fun because I rather admire the British and rather like reading about how dysfunctional they too can be. I wavered between four and five stars. But since it was not as satisfying as some of Tessa Hadley's short stories, I said, "Oh, well, give the old girl a four."

4.5 out of 5: An Intimate Masterpiece

The Master Bedroom is an intimate drama centered on a middle-aged woman who becomes romantically entangled with a married man and his son during the year she returns to her childhood home to care for her elderly mother. Hadley excels at describing the small details of human interactions (the handshake that lingers longer than necessary, the purposeful brush of contact, the subtle change of voice). There aren't any soap operatic scenes in The Master Bedroom, but Hadley nevertheless creates a quiet kind of dramatic tension that quickly propels the plot. In addition to Hadley's narrative finesse, her well-crafted prose makes The Master Bedroom a joy to read. Highly recommended.

The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley

The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley is the first book I've received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. Oddly, I received the book on June 11, about six weeks after the book was available in paperback, and the copy I received was an actual trade paperback, not an ARC. At any rate, I selected several books and received this one, possibly the one book I was unsure I even wanted to read. The synopsis was intriguing, but in a Jerry Springer/train wreck sort of way: Bored Kate Flynn leaves her London academic job and returns to her childhood home to care for her mother. While she is there, a married childhood friend and his seventeen-year-old son "set about their parallel courtships" and "Kate cannot quite resist either man." This all sounds rather seamy, in (I am happy to say) a completely inaccurate way, and I was delighted at the whim that led me to request this book. Tessa Hadley is a gifted writer of lyrical, evocative prose who has crafted a novel (her third) that is touching, funny, and complex. Kate is both sympathetic and infuriating in her midlife crisis. Hadley has drawn her as a woman who has come untethered; though she has taken a one-year leave of absence instead of quitting her job and let her flat instead of giving it up completely, there is a sense that these steps are just delaying the inevitable. Speaking to David, a public health doctor, she calls her academic life "a kind of dream, a mistake. A life lost in books. What an abyss of difference, between your usefulness and mine. How did I choose it: this play life? I should have been a nurse. We carelessly make one choice after another and our lives pile up." She is not always nice, to put it bluntly, and there were times I didn't like her. Though her purported reason for moving home to Wales is her aging mother, it's clear that her mother is a means of escape from a life she had thought she wanted. When she first comes home, she finds her mother asleep and nearly decides to drive back to London without waking her, and she can be sharp with her mother. She takes her childhood friend Carol (who should be nominated for sainthood) for granted. She throws a lavish party purely to spite the practical David and his wife, Suzie. She tells seventeen-year-old Jamie, who has fallen in love with her, that he's too young to be her friend. But despite all these flaws, or perhaps because they make her real, I hoped that she would find what she was looking for by the end. I was expecting, rather dejectedly, for the story to end without any meaning found, without the hollows of life being filled, and I was both surprised and satisfied by the ending. Kate remakes her life, but not in any trite way, nor in the way I had expected. This is a quiet book, with many small movements rather than a single dramatic action. Hadley's prose is well-suited to the story (or rather, stories, as the subplots share a dance floor with Kate's midlife crisis, even if they don't cut in), with simple, accurat

interesting romantic triangle

After more than two decades in London's academic circle, Russian Literature professor Kate Flynn returns to her hometown of Cardiff, Wales to care for her aging mother, Billie. However, without her career or her literary friends, Kate feels somewhat out of place at home. When she meets childhood friend Dr. David Roberts at a concert, Kate is interested as she was attracted to him as a teen and apparently still is. However, David is married to Suzie, whose recent behavior of vanishing for days and ignoring their children and him when she is home worries the family. He finds temporary sanctuary with Kate. David's seventeen-year-old son Jamie also finds comfort with Kate; as her artsy eccentricity makes her seem so much younger than his parents. As the two Roberts court Kate in their differing peculiar ways, she tries to keep the triangle from imploding. This is an interesting romantic triangle starring three fully developed protagonists. Kate is the prime focus of the story line of a woman in a middle age crisis dealing with an older mom and no vocation to keep her mind from wandering. Adding to her being the star is obviously the two males who desire her while she wants the older one without harming the younger one. Fans of deep character studies will appreciate Tessa Hadley discerning look at a woman at the crossroads of her life. Harriet Klausner

Slow burn of a read

Hadley has a knack for the unreliable narrator. The truth of a character's life stays hidden even from the character, and yet the paradox is that it makes the character very naked. Although the title is steamy and probably will tease readers of mainstream cant--(writers like Jodi Pocault who write with cliches and cardboard characters), this is a richly textured novel not meant for folks who don't appreciate literature. If you like archetypes and soap-opera level writing, this isn't for you. If you like Virginia Woolf and Iris Murdoch, you might enjoy this book.
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