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Four Bare Legs in a Bed and Other Stories Paperback – 2 May 1991


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (2 May 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749391626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749391621
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 390,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"The most sensuous writer in the land" (Fay Weldon)

"These stories of sex pack a truly original pungency... kicking off belly-laughs or melting you with an apt phrase, Simpson makes a delectable debut" (Mail on Sunday)

"She can be sparingly tragic and unsparingly funny... A unique writer" (Ruth Rendell)

"Outstanding... You should read her" (The Times)

"Dazzlingly original... Simpson's black-hearted humour is something to relish" (Sunday Times)

Book Description

'Stories told in such succulent prose that you wince at their brevity... a most exceptional debut' - Evening Standard

Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
I've had this book for - oh probably over a decade - when it was given away free by Cosmopolitan magazine, and I finally got round to reading it today. There is a range of stories, all refreshingly different and unashamedly feminist in tone. I most enjoyed The Bed which told a transformation in the lives of a young couple who buy a bed they can't afford and find it turns them into more sensual and loving people. Of the utmost simplicity, I found it absolutely delightful. Let me say, in haste, this is not a book about erotic love, but more about sensuality and happiness or it's obverse in a world where women's lives centre on families, and the pressures and traumas that women face. The writing is somewhat hectic at times, but you get the feeling that words are beautiful things that can pour out balm upon the world. Fourteen very short stories, each one perfectly crafted. The only one which gave me significant pause for thought was Labour which was a very short play, with a two choruses of midwives, and involved birth as an experience fraught with danger, courage and the changing shifts of midwives. There are many quotes underlined in my copy of this book:

"He gave me a fat lip and then he took my rent money and walked out. I spent Sunday trying to get rid of the blue marks with ice cubes and played the Bessie Smith song about fifty times, `I'd rather be dead and buried in my grave; mean old grave!' That always cheers me up."

These stories are set from 1663 to the distant future, when it's moral failure that gets you hanged. They run from the most provoking and wittiest of satires, to the natural heir of kitchen sink, perhaps more like dishwasher lives. I liked them all immensely.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
The first of Helen Simpson's 3 books of short stories (and, despite what it says above, now published by Vintage with a different cover) is a perceptive and amusing collections of short stories about love, marriage and motherhood. Though it has some of the uneveness which comes with being a first book, it is well worth reading (especially for the Greek-style play about giving birth, which features 2 choruses of midwives). Anyone who enjoys this book should also rush out and get hold of some of Lorrie Moore's short fiction.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
Now republished in the USA by Vintage as 'Getting a Life: Stories', this is one of the best collection of humorous wildly sexy passionate stories I have ever read. Outrageously funny and wry, my train commute will just never be the same again!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just read the title short story, excellent - heard it on Radio 4.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
Brilliant 2 Sept. 2013
By Manola Sommerfeld - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Great short stories of a variety of women: lost, troubled, confused, resigned... This was a most enjoyable read, and I shall look for more material from this author
Love Her Stuff 19 Mar. 2015
By Coley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a writer-what talent. Every woman should read her books-she captures all the angst and deep enjoyment of being a mother, wife and woman. Love her stuff.
1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
its like i'm overhearing closed door talk amongst women 7 Jan. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
chose this book for free cause i bought something else. while some of the stories come across as it's hard to be a woman whine they aren't. a clear collection of the thoughts behind maybe silent faces of women in relationships. personal likes "labour " and "escape clauses". some are slightly flowery and subtle. this is not a book about sex as the title may suggest, rather an almost not quite opposite. as a guy some parts made me nervous and provoked thought.
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