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Four Stories [Paperback]

Alan Bennett
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 Sep 2006
Father! Father! Burning Bright, the savage satire on a dying man's family reaction as he still asserts control over them from the hospital bed. The Clothes They Stood Up In, the painful story of what happens to an elderly couple when their flat is stripped completely bare. The Laying on of Hands, a memorial service for a masseur to the famous that goes horribly wrong. The Lady in the Van, the true story of the eccentric old lady and her van who are invited by a homeowner to live in his garden. The homeowner is Alan Bennett and she stays for fifteen years. It became a West End hit, starring Maggie Smith. Like everything Bennett does, these stories are playful, witty and painfully observant of ordinary people's foibles. They all have brilliant twists, are immensely entertaining and highly moral. And all are modern classics.

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Four Stories + Smut: Two Unseemly Stories + A Life Like Other People's
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Product details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (7 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861978197
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861978196
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alan Bennett has been one of our leading dramatists since the success of Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s. His television series Talking Heads has become a modern-day classic, as have many of his works for stage including Forty Years On, The Lady in the Van, A Question of Attribution, The Madness of George III (together with the Oscar-nominated screenplay The Madness of King George), and an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. At the National Theatre, London, The History Boys won numerous awards including Evening Standard and Critics' Circle awards for Best Play, an Olivier for Best New Play and the South Bank Award. On Broadway, The History Boys won five New York Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critcs' Circle Awards, a New York Drama Critics' Award, a New York Drama League Award and six Tony's. The Habit of Art opened at the National in 2009. His collection of prose, Untold Stories, won the PEN/Ackerley Prize for autobiography, 2006. The Uncommon Reader was published in 2007.

Product Description


Bennett's exquisite observations of the snobbish and the camp, the old, the sad and the lonely are recounted with great tenderness and poignancy. (Daily Express)

Bennett approaches his characters with an agitated compassion, a baleful sympathy that adds to their troubles. Some 10 years ago, a newspaper referred to Bennett as "the nation's teddy bear". Note the gleam, always fresh, in his beady eye. (Spectator) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

Here are Alan Bennett's four hugely admired, triumphantly reviewed and bestselling stories, brought together in one book for the first time.

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First Sentence
SEATED OBSCURELY towards the back of the church and on a side aisle, Treacher was conscious nevertheless of being much looked at. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Diversions 24 Sep 2007
Is there a literary form which really suits what Bennett's best at? It's the story-telling embedded in conversation he's wonderful at capturing, and which so runs through these stories, especially (for me), 'The Laying on of Hands' and 'The Clothes They Stood Up In'. But in fiction, I guess he gets diverted. A curious turn of phrase or tired cliche and he's diverted for a whole paragraph, just riffing or playing with it. Like a kid walking past a sweet shop, he just can't resist it. But story and character do suffer. And the endings...well, he doesn't like doing them, which is why the diary form suits him best, when he can stop and move on when he's tired by an idea. For example, the first story here has a wonderful opening, some sharp observations and very drole moments, and then a contrived and rather embarassing ending. But who cares! A page by Bennett is worth twenty by many writers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy 15 Oct 2012
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I love Alan Bennett's work. Everything he does has that beautifully worked quality where every word matters and every line is considered and it all balances so wonderfully. This collection of short stories is no exception. His skill at capturing turns of phrase, emotional nuances and stupendously good dialogue is second to none. All the stories are fabulous, but the two which worked the best for me were; The Lady in the Van, which should be read here, and also seen on stage to capture its full effect, and The Clothes They Stood Up In, which is just a work of wonder. It doesn't really matter what the stories are about. What matters is that Bennett captures life so wonderfully on every page.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best! 14 May 2012
Alan Bennett is one of the very best writers ever. I always love his stories especially with his caustic humor. I have a set of video tapes of him in Westminster Abbey and really hope they will put them out on DVD one of these days. Tapes don't last forever!
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5.0 out of 5 stars WELL TOLD TALES! 12 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well written and very engaging. Bennett has the gift of hearing how people speak and express themselves, and perciving how people lead their lives
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