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Mr Skeffington: A Virago Modern Classic Paperback – 2 Feb 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; New Ed edition (2 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844082792
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844082797
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 799,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A charming mid-life crisis novel, written with ... wit and levity. Von Arnim must be one of Virago's most rewarding Classic finds, as her perception is so accurate and her prose so tight and funny (Daily Mail)

All the verve of von Arnim at her best (Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

*A touching and funny novel about a once-beautiful woman who, approaching her fiftieth birthday, realises she is no longer the belle of the ball.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joyeuse VINE VOICE on 27 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback
Wow! What a surprise to read this. I'd always adored the Bette Davis/Claude Rains film, presumeably based on this novel but hadn't realised how the charaters and plot had been slewed. Moved from England to America for a start and painting Mr S as entirely blameless before being dumped by his gold-digging wife. Well it's not so clear cut in the novel - I wouldn't blame any woman who dumped a husband caught philandering for the seventh time even while he professes to adore his wife and does settle huge amounts of dosh on her following the divorce. And there's no daughter but from there on it follows much the same track as the film and reaches the same denouement - one of the great happy weepy endings.

A witty novel and a fun read - highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Castle on 26 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Any woman with "a past" and about to turn fifty should read this novel. Firstly, to smile and sometimes laugh at the misadventures of Fanny who has lost her looks but not her brains. Secondly, to enjoy the most varied and entertaining carousel of ex-suitors literature can offer. Thirdly, to think and reflect on her own predicament and cast a kinder look towards her own husband before discarding him. Elizabeth von Arnim is the queen of gentle irony and irresistible innuendo. Her touch is light but lethal.
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By Fliss on 1 Dec 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Watching the opening credits of the 1935 film "Enchanted April", I was intrigued to see the author simply named 'Elizabeth'. I stopped the film and started a search to find the real name of the writer. Finding the name Elizabeth von Arnim, I proceeded to search for other books which she had written. From then on I was lost and downloaded all her books from Gutenberg. What a delight! However, in the Gutenberg listing there was one novel missing, "Mr Skeffington" but fortunately it was available on the Gutenberg Australia listing. I did not return to the 1035 film, but became immersed in reading Elizabeth von Arnim to the exclusion of everything else.

At last, I get to the book itself. I read it, enjoyed it and moved on. Perhaps six months later, having bought and watched the 1992 film version of Enchanted April, I found out the Bette Davis had appeared in the film Mr Skeffington in 1944. I found a copy of the text on Kindle and thought that some parts of the plot were familiar, but could not remember where I had come across them previously. It was only when I had finished the book that I realised that I had read it previously and already had a Gutenberg copy.

Such is life with a failing memory!

In my defence I must say that the second reading was so much more moving than I had appreciated. The trials which Fanny experiences had been interesting but now they were very much up close and personal. This time the empathy I felt for her anguish came alive. Fanny's trauma happens to us all at some point, even if we did not have the advantages of her beauty.

I have just noticed the instructions for writing a good review and realise that I have ignored the advice completely! Come on age will catch up with you one day, as it does with Fanny Skeffington.

If you needed to know, Elizabeth von Arnim is a feminist writer, with all the punch and humour but none of the preaching.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was an absorbing story, well written. The characters were well rounded and the main protagonist, an ageing beauty is self absorbed and a heartless user of people. Skeffington, although never actually present in the book is nonetheless pivotal in the life of the protagonist. She has treated him abominably in the past and now, that she has lost her looks she thinks of him often and realises that he was the one person who really loved her. She revisits the lovers of her youth and comes to realise that they did not care for her now that she has aged. Skeffington is brought to her house one night, broken in spirit, he has lost all his money and has been mistreated by the Nazis, who blinded him. Seeing the man who had given all the money for her to live in great splendour in such a dreadful state makes her heart melt and she welcomes him back to look after him.
I loved the book and can highly recommend it.
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