- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Arrow (28 Aug. 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099527537
- ISBN-13: 978-0099527534
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 604,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Holiday Paperback – 28 Aug 2008
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"We need Stanley Middleton to remind us what the novel is about. Holiday is vintage Middleton. The result of Mr Middleton's analysis is so satisfying that one has to look at nineteenth-century writing for comparable storytelling" (Ronald Blythe Sunday Times)
"At first glance, or even at second, Stanley Middleton's world is easily recognizable... The excellence of art, for Middleton, is an exact vision of real things as they are. And because he is himself so exact an observer, his world at third glance can seem strange and disturbing or newly and brilliantly lit with colour" (A.S Byatt)
The Booker Prize-winning NovelSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Holiday is a good place to start with Middleton: this Booker Prize winner from 1974 has an emotional darkness and complexity at the heart of it which contrasts brilliantly with the trappings of the English seaside. Fisher, the main character, takes a holiday in an attempt to clear his head following terrible marital strife. When his in-laws turn out to be holidaying at the same resort, wanting to patch things up, matters only worsen.
What I really love about Middleton is not his plots or even his actually rather sophisticated style, but the way he captures the 'feel' of provincial English life in thr recent past. When other modern writers write of provincial life, it is invariably with a sort of mild contempt; you can always feel they have their tickets for London literary life booked. Middleton combines the soucial nous of Eliot's Middlemarch with the sensitivity of Philip Larkin. That he is so little known says much about our Londoncentric cultural elite.
Holiday, as most of the best novels tend to be, is about change and its associated difficulties. The class-jumping Fisher, now a smart-mouthed, full-of-himself lecturer in Educational Philosophy, used to holiday in Bealthorpe as a boy with his shopkeeper parents. His trilby-wearing father Arthur, master of the banal, haunts him as he wanders the beach, prom and pub under the ‘eye-widening spaces of the sky…like blue glass breathed on'. There are echoes here of David Storey’s novels, particularly the brilliant ‘Pasmore’ (1972) in which the marriage break-up of a London academic drags him grimly back to his Northern roots of the mines and damp two-ups two downs.Read more ›
`Fifty years hence, someone will pull me out of his head. I am not displeased.' Thus Stanley Middleton in a poem recalling names from his past. Author of over 40 novels, joint winner of the Booker Prize in 1975, Middleton refused an honour from the Wilson government, and published Holiday to refute Auberon Waugh's dictum that flashbacks were the death of any good novel. In fact flashback is an inherent part of the structure of Holiday, whose hero, Edwin Fisher during a period of marital breakdown tells of his childhood, school life, courtship and his disastrous marriage to Meg, a woman who is his very antithesis.
The novel begins in an East Coast seaside resort, where schoolmaster Fisher has gone to escape from constant domestic squabbles with his bellicose wife. While he drifts from beach to bar, from church to his digs, with their lace curtains and view of rooftops and television aerials, he meets a range of tramps, holidaying families, sunbathing girls - and ultimately chances upon his father-in-law, David Vernon. The one thing that Edwin and Meg have in common is an imposing and embarrassing father. But while Edwin's father is safely dead, Meg's is only too alive. Vernon has clearly arrived at the resort as a peacemaker, a friendly but interfering solicitor, who after puffing and blowing sits down `raising the tails of his coat,' saying, `I was sorry to hear about your business,' meaning the marital break-up.
David is difficult to shake off and the many interviews between solicitor and teacher are both funny and painful, each seeking to outfox the other. Meg `appears' only in Edwin's recalled `scenes,' where again victory of principle is striven for but never achieved.Read more ›
Our hero, Edwin Fisher, has retreated to the sanctity of seaside resort town where his parents vacationed when he was a boy. Here Edwin licks his wounds after yet another row with his wife. He ponders whether to return or to take his new-found freedom and run.
Middleton adroitly takes us through the thought processes of Fisher.
At 240 pages it's not a tomb but not beach reading either.
It is a worthy Booker winner. As an American reader the idiom of Middleton some times intrudes but this is an intelligent treatment of a topic which most people have pondered.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed this book. So realistic & true. Stands the test of time. Top book.Published 19 months ago by johnsowter
Middleton's Holiday is a delightful, thoughtful, emotional journey. His sense of time and place is wonderful, as we join our protagonist Fisher on a short holiday in an English... Read morePublished 21 months ago by John Goddard
I had read a previous book that was brilliant and this one was a disappointment and i won't be reading any more of his books.Published on 8 Sept. 2014 by Amazon Customer
My review is mostly about the Kindle edition. I am appalled by the poor editing and proofreading that went into this edition. Read morePublished on 10 Sept. 2013 by Pukka Sahib
An enjoyable read but
somewhat marred by simple spelling errors.Are these ebooks proof read ?. This is really not acceptable
Stanley Middleton courageously touches a subject avoided by male authors: a young father's grief. The central character, 32 year old Edwin Fisher, separated from his wife Meg... Read morePublished on 2 Jun. 2013 by Christopher H