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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Baffling but enjoyable
This was an enjoyable, well-written but ultimately baffling book. It seems like it might have been an experiment to see whether it's possible to write about Johnson in a 'Johnsonian' way i.e. digressive, moody and episodic; if so, it works pretty well. If not, then I'm a bit stumped.
Like a number of Bainbridge's other excursions into historical fiction, like Master...
Published on 7 Jan 2002 by Rich Ham

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well researched
Bainbridge has researched her subject well - I came away feeling that I had learned something about the characters of a number of famous names - James Boswell, Joshua Reynolds, Fanny Burney, etc. However, the tale itself felt disjointed at times with the technique of switching between centuries (Each chapter is interspersed with a letter from the older Queeney, looking...
Published on 4 Jan 2003 by Gillian Caddy


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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well researched, 4 Jan 2003
By 
Gillian Caddy (Congleton, Cheshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: According To Queeney (Paperback)
Bainbridge has researched her subject well - I came away feeling that I had learned something about the characters of a number of famous names - James Boswell, Joshua Reynolds, Fanny Burney, etc. However, the tale itself felt disjointed at times with the technique of switching between centuries (Each chapter is interspersed with a letter from the older Queeney, looking back on her family acquaintance). Johnson himself seemed an improbably unattractive character in temperament for a much courted lady to be chasing. In fact, most of the characters have very few endearing features.
It was a pleasing enough book, but not as enjoyable as I thought it could have been.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Baffling but enjoyable, 7 Jan 2002
This review is from: According to Queeney (Hardcover)
This was an enjoyable, well-written but ultimately baffling book. It seems like it might have been an experiment to see whether it's possible to write about Johnson in a 'Johnsonian' way i.e. digressive, moody and episodic; if so, it works pretty well. If not, then I'm a bit stumped.
Like a number of Bainbridge's other excursions into historical fiction, like Master Georgie or the Birthday Boys, one is left wondering why the author chose the particular times and characters she's writing about; she doesn't seem particularly close to them; nor do they act as universals, so oddly do they behave. Still, she's a great writer of sentences. Some of them still go on ringing through my head weeks after reading them.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 19 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: According to Queeney (Hardcover)
This is Beryl Bainbridge at the peak of her powers and it is a travesty that she has missed out on the Booker again. It is a dark tale of the complex relationship between Samuel Johnson and his friend and benefactor Mrs Thrale and is executed masterfully.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting passages but ultimately disappointing, 26 Sep 2006
By 
A. BUTTERWORTH (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: According To Queeney (Paperback)
From the description on the back cover and extracts of reviews inside, I had high hopes of this book as a work of fiction based on real people and events from the late 18th century. In the event I found it rather dull. Characters appear without any attempt to explain who they were. Some of these are well known historical figures but in other cases it took most of the book to find out vaguely what their relevance was to Johnson's life. This would be fine for a reader who is an expert on Johnson, but for someone without that knowledge it was tiresome. A more serious criticism is that the book is a series of vignettes based on the last 20 years of Johnson's life and as such lacks a compelling story. I finished the book feeling that I had gained a little insight into the social history of the way Johnson and his friends lived, but not much else.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Booker Committee, 19 Nov 2002
By 
taking a rest - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: According To Queeney (Paperback)
This is novel number 16 for Ms. Beryl Bainbridge. In addition to these she has written an additional 4 works. Of the first 15 novels, 5 have been nominated for the prestigious Booker Award, however it has never been granted to her work. If there is another writer who has had one third of their work nominated but not rewarded, I have not come across one. Many other awards have found their way to this tremendous storyteller; I hope the Booker Folks catch up.

"According To Queeney", demonstrates once again the ease with which Ms. Beryl Bainbridge can reach, both back into history and to some of the great players of their times, and not only grasp, but create wonderful new tales. The century of choice this time is the 18th, and she chooses the formidable Samuel Johnson as her focus. This person alone would be plenty for most writers, however she has added actor David Garrick, poet Oliver Goldsmith, novelist Fanny Burney, and artist Joshua Reynolds. Each of these people could fill their own book, and more than one has. The brilliance of this work is that the author manages to bring them all together, give them all they're due, and does so in a fairly brief 216 pages. She does not merely name drop or make a passing reference. She manages to make all of the various players memorable; however brief their words allotted may appear to be. The truth is they read with much greater length.

A young counterpoint to Johnson is the Queeney of the title. An extremely precocious child, she is a favorite of Johnson's as well as a talented young mind he seeks to cultivate. This same Queeney becomes a correspondent for a researcher investigating her memories of her young years, as they relate to her and her mother, the latter of the two who Johnson becomes emotionally attached to. The mother eventually becomes available for marriage, and the events surrounding this opportunity bring the threads of the story together, and then to a close.

This is one of the best books that Ms. Bainbridge has written. I hope the people who nominate and then award The Booker Prize, once again nominate this work, which then will cause them to make a decision that differs from those in the past. If they do not, when her next work is released, she will then be the 6 times nominated author for the award.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply excellent, 7 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: According to Queeney (Hardcover)
Berl Bainbridge's lastest novel manages to completely involve you in the lives of her complex characters and give a vivid picture of Georgian times whilst also supplying a very enetertaining read. I particularly enjoyed the way that the book's focus switches from one character to another, thus disturbing the reliability of the narrative and enhancing the reader's appreciation of the foibles and eccentricities of each one's point of view.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Adding to my collection, 26 April 2013
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This review is from: According To Queeney (Paperback)
My local bookshop has a pitiful choice of work by this author and I love her writing. This was a different kind of setting from the norm but it was rivetting. I couldn't put it down,highly recommened it!
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2.0 out of 5 stars According to Queeny, 3 Mar 2013
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Read for book group. Took me ages to read and frustrated me in places. The narrative was laboured in parts and yet flowed well in others. I liked Queeny though and found the humour well done.
Not a bad read but not one of my favourites.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Samuel Johnson and Hester Thrale, 22 Feb 2013
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: According To Queeney (Paperback)
Having recently read a book about Samuel Johnson and his friendship with Richard Savage, I looked forward to reading this book about Johnson's friendship in his later life with Hester Thrale, who lived from 1741 to 1821, and whose writings are a vital source of information on Johnson's life. Her eldest daughter, another Hester (nicknamed "Queeney") was born in 1764 and died in 1857, and lived a full life, marrying the 1st Viscount Keith.

The novel begins with a prologue, though set in 1784 (after the main action of the novel), when a body is removed from a house to be taken for post mortem. At the time, the reader is not aware of who this corpse belonged to. The story then moves by chapters through the years 1765 to 1784, with the relationships of Samuel Johnson, Hester Thrale, Queeney, and their family and acquaintanced (including Johnson's household, Mrs Thrale's mother and other children, and more well-known figures such as David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith, Sir Joshua Reynolds and others) moving through the years. Interspersed between the chapters are brief letters from Queeney dated from 1807 onwards, addressed to Miss Laetitia Hawkins, daughter of Sir John Hawkins, a friend for some years of Johnson, and to Fanny Burney.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book; I can imagine it would be a bit confusing in parts if you approached the book with no knowledge of eighteenth-century England, or of Samuel Johnson and his circle. But the writing is engaging, the story-telling captivating, and the characters conveyed empathetically, although you did feel that none of them came across as particularly loveable. Totally recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars According to Queenie, 26 Aug 2010
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This review is from: According To Queeney (Paperback)
I bought this book after seeing Beryl Bainbridge reading excerpts on the TV. Very enjoyable, details of the life of Samuel Johnson.
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According To Queeney
According To Queeney by Beryl Bainbridge (Paperback - 5 Sep 2002)
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