A brilliant and compelling historical novel recreates the complex and fascinating relationship between acclaimed literary genius Dr. Samuel Johnson, and his benefactress, Mrs. Thrale, as observed by Mrs. Thrale's daughter Queeney. Reprint.
Bainbridge's brilliantly imagined, universally acclaimed, Booker Prize-longlisted novel portrays the inordinate appetites and unrequited love touched off when the most celebrated man of eighteenth-century English letters, Samuel Johnson, enters the domain of a wealthy Southwark brewer and his wife, Hester Thrale. The melancholic, middle-aged lexicographer plunges into an increasingly ambiguous relationship with the vivacious Mrs. Thrale for the next twenty years. In that time Hester's eldest daughter, the neglected but prodigiously clever Queeney, will grow into young womanhood. Along the way, little of the emotional tangle and sexual tension stirring beneath the decorous surfaces of the Thrale household will escape Queeney's cold, observant eye. "A dark, often hilarious and deeply human vision ... a major literary accomplishment."—Margaret Atwood, Toronto Globe and Mail "...at the end of this luminous little novel ... we feel two losses ... the personal one and the loss to civilization."—Richard Bernstein, New York Times "Dialogue and descriptions subtly and skillfully convey a sense not only of the period but also the personalities."—Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times "[Bainbridge's] most accomplished novel so far."—Washington Post Book World "Majestically deft.... Absolutely wonderful."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)