Start reading The Lady in the Van: Play (Faber Plays) on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books even without a Kindle device-with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones and tablets.
The Lady in the Van: Play (Faber Plays)

The Lady in the Van: Play (Faber Plays) [Kindle Edition]

Alan Bennett
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

Print List Price: 4.99
Kindle Price: 3.55 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: 1.44 (29%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 3.55  
Paperback 3.74  
Audio, CD, Audiobook 9.14  
Book Supplement, Audiobook --  
Audio Download, Unabridged 5.70 or Free with 30-day free trial Trade-In Store
Did you know you can use your mobile to trade in your unwanted books for an Gift Card to spend on the things you want? Visit the Books Trade-In Store for more details or check out the Trade-In Amazon Mobile App Guidelines on how to trade in using a smartphone. Learn more.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Description

Amazon Review

Life imitates art in The Lady in the Van, the story of the itinerant Miss Shepherd, who lived in a van in Alan Bennett's driveway from the early1970s until her death in 1989. It is doubtful that Bennett could have made up the eccentric Miss Shepherd if he tried, but his poignant, funny but unsentimental account of their strange relationship is akin to his best fictional screen writing.

Bennett concedes that "One seldom was able to do her a good turn without some thoughts of strangulation", but as the plastic bags build up, the years pass by and Miss Shepherd moves into Bennett's driveway, a relationship is established which defines a certain moment in late 20th-century London life which has probably gone forever. The dissenting, liberal, middle-class world of Bennett and his peers comes into hilarious but also telling collision with the world of Miss Shepherd: "there was a gap between our social position and our social obligations. It was in this gap that Miss Shepherd (in her van) was able to live".

Bennett recounts Miss Shepherd's bizarre escapades in his inimitable style, from her letter to the Argentinean Embassy at the height of the Falklands War, to her attempts to stand for Parliament and wangle an electric wheelchair out of the Social Services. Beautifully observed, The Lady in the Van is as notable for Bennett's attempts to uncover the enigmatic history of Miss Shepherd, as it is for its amusing account of her eccentric escapades. --Jerry Brotton


"...a wonderfully bittersweet comic diary of the years in which a lethally dotty and very smelly old bat parked her unroadworthy vehicle in Bennett's Camden garden, thereby providing him with a roughly equal amount of good journalistic copy and guilty landlordly irritation." Sheridan Morley, Spectator"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 192 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction (19 Feb 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9YA0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,160 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

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.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing work of non-fiction 16 Nov 2008
'The Lady in the Van' is a completely true story. In the 1970's and 1980's outside Alan Bennett's own house in Camden an old lady (Miss Shepherd) lived in a Van in the street. After a time she could no longer stay on the street. Amazingly Bennett allowed her to move her Van into his garden and there she remained until she died.

This is a remarkable story, and its one of the funniest yet moving pieces of writing that I have ever read. Bennett is a marvellous observer of people and his humanity shines through. Miss Shephard's living conditions were frankly disgusting (just think of the smell) and this would be enough to put most people off having any contact with her at all.

Bennett here has written one of the finest works of moving and poignant non-fiction I know of.
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read 28 July 2010
By coney
The Lady in the Van is well worth reading. Alan Bennett is an excellent writer and holds the reader's attention all the way through the story.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful little book 19 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Miss Shepherd is in many ways a typical Alan Bennett character - often very funny yet sometimes tragic and with an interesting tale to tell. She could easily be one of the characters from his 'Talking Heads' monologues. However, this is a work of non-fiction and she actually did come with her collection of plastic bags to live in her van on his front drive - and stayed for a number of years. Bennett brilliantly manages to convey the delicate balance present in their complex relationship, even when it doesn't show him in the most positive of light. As he puts it: 'One seldom was able to do her a good turn without some thoughts of strangulation.' Don't we all know someone like that?

As the book was created from notes he had made relating to Miss Shepherd in his diary over a number of years, there is not one story running through this book. What emerges, however, is an honest and touching but never sentimental story of a enigmatic character - a real one-of-a-kind.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars charming 15 April 2011
By aee
a lovely little read, written in Bennett's sharp observations, the tone is sometimes funny, sometimes incredulous and sometimes very touching. i wish i'd met her!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Lady in the van 18 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read the book after listening to a play based on it on Radio 4. It was an interesting mixture of humour and sadness. My main criticism was how short it was. Surely it would have been better as part of a series of short stories perhaps. However I enjoyed it.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An hilarious and wonderful true story! 6 Jan 2010
The book The Lady In The Van maybe small in size, but truly vast in entertainment value, everything you would ever expect from the pen of Alan Bennett!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both funny and sad 16 Aug 2005
The story of how Mr Shepherd ended up in Alan Bennett's drive, and how she lived her life their until her eventual death, is both funny, and also in parts sad. Although very short, this book is well worth it, and highly recommended.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miss Shepard Desert Fox 2 Aug 2001
By Laura Daly VINE VOICE
Format:Audio Cassette
For fifteen years this arch Tory lived in a van in Bennets driveway. We must laugh at the rubbing on of Bells whiskey, the fright Bennett got when he thought she was going to camp on his Yorkshire doorstep. We must wonder what went on in Miss Shepard's mind as she talked of "this land" and "her pencils". During this time Bennett realises that Miss Shepard is not to different from the rest of us as she too has all the usless items for living that we never use. We must pause as she nears the end of her life. And at the end you feel he quite liked her and she him. I know I did. She may be in an unmarked Islington grave but she is remembered.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great and Touching ( True ) Story
Heard part of this on the radio years ago and it struck me then what an epic story/account it was, told in the down-to-earth, amusing, acute
eye of Alan Bennett. Read more
Published 21 days ago by silverbirch
1.0 out of 5 stars The Lady in The Van. By Alan Bennett.
An amazing true story. I saw it on stage years ago with Maggie Smith. You cannot get better than that!!
Published 3 months ago by Beryl Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story
I have listened to a few Alan Bennett plays recently and although this isn't the best it is very good.
Published 3 months ago by Jane
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting as a true story
A rather sad little story which is a good example of truth being stranger than fiction! Alan Bennett is clearly a most good-natured man to allow this annoying old lady to park her... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Westmount
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Alan Bennet
Never read a play before and like Alan Bennet so tried this. GREAT. Liked the forward where Alan explains why & how he wrote the story which made a difference to understanding and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Sleepy Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars The lady in the Van
I quite enjoyed the book it wasn't quite what I was expecting but intresting for an evening read once in my life
Published 8 months ago by Shiba
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite authors, will look forward to some more of the...
Haven't read it yet so can't comment...but if it's anything like his Talking Heads it will be superb...such an unusual subject..
Published 9 months ago by jimmia puddleduck
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing
Alan Bennett never lets you down. The line between his fiction and fact writing is fine, as it is indeed in real life.
Published 10 months ago by R. Mary
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo to Alan Bennett.
The Lady in the Van was every bit as good as we have come to expect from Alan Bennett,he paints pictures with words a rare talent,I could feel the warmth and sympathy directed to... Read more
Published 11 months ago by valerie stanton
2.0 out of 5 stars Read at one sitting
Lovely rememberings of an eccentric. Britain is the sadder for the loss of such people, a gentler option of those who choose not to accept the confines of societal norms.
Published 12 months ago by P. A. Moncaster
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Popular Highlights

 (What's this?)
As Churchill said, the mind cannot take in more than the seat will endure. &quote;
Highlighted by 7 Kindle users

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
Brilliant ! 0 1 Mar 2009
See all discussions...  
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions

Look for similar items by category