28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BOTTLING OUT
Whatever this story might be thought to lack, it's not originality. Bottling wine out of imported casks and labelling the bottles in an Italian-owned plant in London is presumably a mechanised operation these days. However time was when people did these jobs, and they were real people with real hearts and souls like the rest of us.
These are `small' people with...
Published on 14 Oct 2008 by DAVID BRYSON
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like the curate's egg - good in parts
I loved Beryl Bainbridge's writing style, but found some of her characters just too silly and unbelievable. And the end of the story, which of course I will keep quiet about it, was infuriatingly annoying. Having said that there are some gems: the picnic scene, the incident in the woods.....but it's not a book I would put on my list of top 100.
Published 14 months ago by scribbling lady
Most Helpful First | Newest First
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars strange and compelling,
A weird and interesting book. I read this with my book group and it sparked off some good discussions. Worth a read!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh To Bottle The Joy This Book Brings,
`The Bottle Factory Outing' is a tale of Brenda and Freda, these two women live in a shared bedsit room, separated in bed by a bolster made of books, and I think it is fair to say that being so chalk and cheese if Freda hadn't happened upon and `adopted' Brenda after she left her husband and the countryside to come to London they wouldn't have ever made a likely paid of friends. Yet friends and subsequently co-workers they have become and it is the events leading up to, during (something awful happens, though what I won't say) and after a work outing, from the bottle factory, which Freda has organised that this novel revolves around.
The novel is really one of two halves, and this made it an intriguing first read of any of Beryl's work for me so might for others, as the first half is a comedy of errors and rather farcical before certain events take place giving the novel a much darker and more disturbing twist making it a very black comedy. As I started to read, after some initial confusion over which woman was which for the first ten or so pages, I was pretty much instantly hooked. I loved how Beryl builds the women's characters, and their polar opposites, so vividly and so funnily with small observations of their behaviour. I laughed out loud a lot.
The dynamic of the two women is really the driving force initially for the novel. They are friends and also constantly in competition. I would say they loved to love each other and loved to loathe each other in equal measure. Brenda is the quieter, slighter, more serious brunette who seems to make any man she meets want to ravish her and Freda is the louder, brasher, bossier, plumper one who is set on trying to seduce the son and heir, Vittorio, of the bottle factory business she works in. It is this desire that leads to the outing on which everything changes and the novel sets up a gear as things start to unfold.
There were so many things that I loved about Beryl Bainbridge's writing that it might be hard to encompass them all, I will endeavour to try though. First of all is how much is in such a small book. At a mere 200 pages, and in fairly big print which could be devoured in a few hours, so much happens that when you have finished you find yourself recapping it all and thinking `did that all just happen in this book?' There are funerals, hilarious seductions in cellars, hilarious seductions in a shared bedroom and a shared bathroom, a mother in law with a grudge to bear and a gun in her handbag, a fight in Windsor Castle, horse riding with the Queen's funereal regiment, something awful on an outing which leads to a strange trip to a safari park, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
The writing is also incredible. Beryl Bainbridge manages to write what is essentially a farcical and rather unbelievable story, though you never know, but builds the atmosphere, tensions and characters in such a way that you fully believe this series of events could happen. Her main characters are incredibly flawed and can be rather vile, in fact so can the minor ones, but they walk off the page and you like them, you want to read about them. The most impressive thing is how in a mere sentence or two Bainbridge can give you a place and/or person in mere lines, no word is wasted but it's not so sparse you have to fill in the gaps, not many authors can do this and I really admire it when I read it.
As you may be able to tell I really loved `The Bottle Factory Outing'. It was nothing like I expected it to be and was a wonderful discovery. I loved Beryl Bainbridge's sense of humour both when it was light and dark, I loved her prose, I just thought it was great and am quite thrilled to have discovered an author who I now cannot wait to read more of. My only slight wish is that I had discovered her before she died a few years ago and could have gone to see her speak, though her voice definitely lives on in a novel like this.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read in one sitting,
I found this a slightly odd story that suddenly goes in a direction I wasn't expecting. To be honest I lost my way a bit in the middle and found it less than gripping, I kept falling asleep after a couple of pages and consequently lost the momentum.
A rainy morning with a rest from running gave me the opportunity to finish it after which I went back and speed read the beginning again and discover that it's actually a well constructed book that really needs to be read in a single sitting. 200 pages and the language that is accessible makes this is quite achievable.
Freda and Brenda are two English women who's lives stumble together. They share a bedsit and both get jobs working in a wine bottling factory. Their colleagues, apart from the Irish driver, are all relatively recent Italian immigrant peasants. The factory is owned by a Mr Paganotti who is always present in the story but never puts in a personal appearance and doesn't influence the outcome in any way.
There is a failed shooting that results in no injury or charge and a murder (manslaughter is probably a better description) that goes unnoticed by the authorities and is accepted and tidied up rather stoically by the witnesses. Doesn't sound like a recipe for mirth but it is a funny book. I enjoyed it and recommend it.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars B.B. does it again!,
I am a huge fan of Beryl Bainbridge and am building my collection. She writes about real people living ordinary lives in an extraordinary way. If you've never read one of her works give her a go,I can't believe you won't get hooked.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter Rubbish,
This is the first of Beryl Bainbridge I have attempted to read and it will certainly be the last. I thought it was utter rubbish - I didn't manage to finish it as I found it so frustrating! I read all of the time and its very very rare for me to throw in the towel - but my payience ran out!
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I was so disappointed,
This story was so unbelievable. I dont usually do reviews unless they are positive BUT I dont ever start a book and dont finish it. This was a silly story and such hard work and depressing. The main character was so horrible and it went from bad to worse.I've never read such a difficult and silly story before.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unlikely events, inconsistent characterisation, farcical but not amusing.,
This review is from: The Bottle Factory Outing (Kindle Edition)
This book is highly acclaimed. Having read it I am unable to understand how it could be shortlisted for a Booker prize or to win a Guardian literary award.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just the job!,
I bought this for a birthday present for a friend celebrating her 70th. She was pleased to get it. so I am very satisfied.
0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old but signed,
This review is from: The bottle factory outing (Paperback)
Book was received very quickly and I was very disappointed when I saw the condition of the book, very old and yellowed but then I saw it was signed by Beryl Bainbridge and I felt very happy indeed!
Most Helpful First | Newest First
The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge