Customer Reviews


14 Reviews
5 star:
 (6)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


84 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sampling of Modernism
In the introduction, the editor, Malcom Bradbury, sets out his intention in producing this collection: one was to 'display...the achievement of some the best work produced by the strongest of...recent Britsh authors'; and the other, what Bradbury claims to be a more difficult task, to be 'broadly representative, so that the book might give not only a reasonable idea of...
Published on 24 July 2001

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
The writers are all very famous, so I bought them but was disappointed, because I didn't find them very interesting
Published 26 days ago by Ashoka Sen


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

84 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sampling of Modernism, 24 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories (Paperback)
In the introduction, the editor, Malcom Bradbury, sets out his intention in producing this collection: one was to 'display...the achievement of some the best work produced by the strongest of...recent Britsh authors'; and the other, what Bradbury claims to be a more difficult task, to be 'broadly representative, so that the book might give not only a reasonable idea of the variety, but also the general trends and directions that have been taken by British fiction in the years since 1945'.
Bradbury succeeds in both attempts. This is not paritcularly surprising since this is Bradbury's territory. The collection contains works by some of the biggest names in British Literature: William Golding, Samuel Beckett, Graham Greene, Kingsley Amis, John Fowles, William Trevor, Ian McEwan, and Kazuo Ishiguro--to name a few. The reason, Bradbury explains, is 'that many of the authors in this collection are our major writers of prose-fiction in general'.
Some of the stories are definitely modern, with self reflexiveness, lots of white spaces, single line paragraphs, whimsical subjects, and inscrutable titles; there are pseudo-stories, stories pretending to be something else when all the while the author is trying to tell a story without letting you know the story is being told since it was the 1960's or thereabouts when the writing a straight forward story was almost a shameful act. But none of this stories are the kind found at the height of modernism, where the reader had no idea what was being said. Each of these authors are aiming at something, something new and different, and not just for the sake of only new or different, (though there are a few that fall into that) but going beyond the traditional story and exploring the truth in new ways. There are also some 'straight' acts. And these are the ones that stay in your mind, unlike the others which are fun to read for the moment but which you then tend to forget. Of the former category is Kazuo Ishiguro's tightly written gem 'A Family Supper'. A simple story about the return of a son to his native Japan after his mother's death. In the few pages Ishiguro shows the crumbling of a family. Another story in a similar mode is Graham Greene's 'The Invisble Japanese Gentlemen'. In both cases the commentary on life is left to the reader. In this category one can also include William Golding, V.S. Pritchett, William Trevor, and Ian McEwan. (Here the author simply leaves this thread and jumps to something else).
If you want to know the shape and growth of British Literature, and quickly, or if you want to read something different then this book is a good starting point.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern, short but not quite a classic, 30 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I like short stories although some of these were incomprehensible to me. Fortunately, some were reasonably enjoyable, and a few were extraordinarily resonant. There is such a broad range of stories that like me, you are bound to find some that strike a vibrant chord. It is these few masterpieces that make the book a good read and worth buying. The reader has such a choice that you will be salivating and your individual taste will be well catered. My favourite was 'To Room Nineteen' by Doris Lessing, whilst my second favourite,"Let me Count the Times' by Martin Amis made me laugh. Fay Weldon's 'Weekend' had me wanting to punch all the characters apart from Martha who I wanted to uplift so she no longer played the role of doormat to perfection.

The length of the stories are ideal for picking up the book, reading one, and then putting it down.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixture of good and not so good/or awful short stories, 28 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories (Paperback)
I counted about 20 good stories and 10 bad to awful ones by the time I reached near the end. At least it gives you an idea about the whole spectrum from excellent to awful. Much better than my other purchase ' The best British short stories 2011'
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book that you should try., 10 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. Henry Gray (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories (Paperback)
I first read this book about 20 years ago after finding it in a second hand shop and loved it. I have always been fascinated by the art of the short story and this book is a perfect example of how good it can be when done well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She was no longer Susan Rawlings, mother of four, wife of Matthew, employer of Mrs Parkes and of Sophie Traub..., 23 April 2014
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories (Paperback)
My favourite story of this collection is, of all things, a disappearance mystery The Enigma by John Fowles. A successful city broker as well as a Conservative Member of Parliament, John Marcus Fielding had a good marriage, an attractive and well-liked wife, and a beautiful house in the country. As the story gathers the pieces of his life together and no explanation emerges from the initial investigations the case is passed over to a Special Branch Sergeant, Jennings. It is his investigation into the MP’s disappearance that gradually comes to suggest one possible outcome to the puzzle. I especially liked this story because of the personable Sergeant Jennings, and the conversations he has in the pursuit of a solution.

Of the other stories I also liked Angus Wilson’s story of a chancer on the make in the environs of the minor aristocracy More Friend Than Lodger, and I also would put the story by Kingsley Amis, My Enemy’s Enemy and Ted Hughs’ beautiful and terrifying story The Rain Horse on a par with both of them, the latter is especially atmospheric and eerie as it describes an attack by a horse on a man walking across country in the rain.

The inimitable Doris Lessing contributes a strange story To Room Nineteen, about a woman who has everything, a wonderful husband, four beautiful children, a beautiful house and no money worries. In spite of this she lacks one thing, solitude. She takes a room in a seedy hotel and takes herself off there solely for the pleasure of knowing that nobody knows where she is. I feel that many woman will identify with that feeling. However much one has in material terms, there comes a time when you want to be free of the obligation to be who you manifestly are, to escape yourself and be other than the things that confine and thereby define you. I especially enjoyed this story, but felt the conclusion went a bit too far for verisimilitude.

Fay Weldon’s contribution was almost the obverse of Lessing’s dilemma and reminded me of a Georgina Hammick story, whose title I’ve forgotten, that painted a hellish picture of an overbearing husband whom the wife has to placate and kow-tow to with a ceaseless domestic servitude, and a family commentary amounting to emotional cruelty.

Other stories range from Rose Tremain’s My Wife Is A White Russian – a man reaching the end of his functional life left to the care of an indifferent wife, to the scurrilously funny story by Martin Amis, Let Me Count The Times about a man obsessed with cataloguing his sex life – even when it mostly takes place in his imagination. A very good collection of stories, no longer "modern", perhaps, but British at it’s erstwhile best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diverse selection, 24 May 2009
By 
This review is from: The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories (Paperback)
A diverse selection of stories - some reminiscent and some very modern - verging on odd! A good collection demonstrating the art of short story writing by a wide range of authors. Reading some of these encourage one to try a full book by authors not previously experienced.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 20 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The writers are all very famous, so I bought them but was disappointed, because I didn't find them very interesting
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern British Short Stories, 4 Oct 2011
By 
Ms. M. M. L. Packwood (Wellingborough UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories (Paperback)
I bought this book to read the short story written by Angela Carter called The Flesh and the Mirror. In fact it is one of her early short stories from when she used to live in Japan. It is in no way as good as The Company of Wolves or The Bloody Chamber. I am going to enjoy reading the Edna O'Brien story - In the Hours of Darkness. There are also stories by Doris Lessing and Muriel Spark as well as Fay Weldon. A short story is often a boon to busy mothers who have to snatch time to read and who often read is short bursts. This is what I found when my son was young. Busy people also enjoy short stories as you may be able to complete one in the course of a Tube journey or train ride home. Other stories are by Malcolm Lowry, Samuel Beckett, Dylan Thomas , Graham Greene, Kingsley Amis and Ted Hughes to name but a few. Quality I hear you say! A short story anthology is a book you can dip in and out of and you do not have to read it in the order it is presented to you. Enjoy!
Marlene Packwood
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of money, 8 May 2014
By 
J. Thomas - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The editor says the British are not especially good at short stories. It is not surprising he came to this conclusion from the stories he selected for this book. Only one story, ‘To Room Nineteen’, is worth reading. Review by story;
• Strange Comfort Afforded By The Profession – name dropping writer writes about himself.
• Ping – a waste of ink and paper.
• Mysterious Kor – dull, much dialog about nothing.
• A Family Man – pointless dialog between wife and her husband’s mistress.
• The Burning Baby – distasteful, a man has a baby with his daughter then kills the baby.
• The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen – a petty writer is jealous about another writer’s success.
• More Friend Than Lodger – negative stereotypes of class; a publisher, adulteress, lover.
• The Lotus – another one about writers, rude and self-righteous tenants.
• Miss Pulkinhorn – not a nice story about a busy body.
• My Enemy’s Enemy – another one about negative stereotypes of class; soldiers, officers.
• The Rain Horse – like Duel (1971 film); except it’s a horse, a man and a muddy field.
• The Fishing Boat Picture - another about negative stereotypes of class and a touch of apathy,
• To Room Nineteen – very sad, insightful story of mental illness.
• The House of the Famous Poet – too many words and no content.
• The Enigma – man disappears, police investigate, another batch of negative stereotypes.
• Memories of the Space Age - negative stereotypes of scientists, engineers.
• A Meeting in the Middle – it ends with cow parsley, the rest is not worth reading.
• In the Hours of Darkness – a mum stays overnight near her son’s college and that is it.
• A Few Selected Sentences – the sort of thing you would search for on the internet if you are bored.
• Composition – negative stereotype, of nave English teacher.
• Weekend – a good reason not to become a middle class housewife.
• Hotel des Boobs – writer on holiday writes about a writer writing on holiday.
• Clap Hands, Here comes Charlie – more class stereotypes and heart attack.
• Psychopolis – more negative stereotypes, Americans, immigrants, again the writer knows best!
• Flesh and Mirror – another, this one is a poor little rich girl abroad, very boring self-analysis.
• Let me Count the Times – lots of rising action and climax, realistic falling action, upbeat resolution.
• My Wife is a White Russian – another… rich man, gold digging wife.
• The Prophet’s Hair – another… religion and violence.
• One of a Kind – another one about a writer.
• Philomela – A distasteful Greek myth, no reason to write another version and print it.
• Bedbugs – another English teacher, petty, pathetic, nave, negative stereotype.
• Seraglio – another negative stereotype; tourists, dysfunctional relationship.
• A Family Supper – A poisonous fish, but the story has no sting in its tail despite being ready for it.
• Structural Anthropology – full of self-righteous judgmental nonsense.
A waste of money and put me off getting the other short stories in the Penguin series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Book in excellent condition., 7 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Arrived on time. Book in excellent condition.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories
The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories by Malcolm Bradbury (Paperback - 25 Feb 1988)
9.60
Not in stock; order now and we'll deliver when available
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews