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The Lady in the Van (Faber Plays) by [Bennett, Alan]
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The Lady in the Van (Faber Plays) Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 1,719 customer reviews

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Kindle Edition, 19 Feb 2009
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Length: 128 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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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

Review

"...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: 236 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (19 Feb. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9YA0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 1,719 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #240,778 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This short book tells the true story in the form of the author’s actual diary entries of an old lady living in a van in the author’s garden. The writing, as you would expect from such a wonderful writer, is superb.

But, I struggled with this book. It never moved beyond a relatively straightforward account of the life an eccentric elderly person. I guess that was a direct consequence of using diary extracts which just relates a series of daily events and doesn’t take a broader perspective.

I think the take away from this story we are supposed to have is to admire the resolve of an old lady living out her days in the manner of her choosing. My lasting memory though is of an old lady living in absolute squalor. The description of the inside of her van as the author looks for some papers is simply nauseating.

There was nothing heroic in this tale – just a very sad story of neglect.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Saw the film first, so wanted to read the book. Enjoyed it, and it clarified what was added to the film that wasn't actually in the book, but that was OK. She sounds like a very interesting lady with a sad history behind her eccentricity, and Alan Bennett showed amazing patience, compasson and kindness in allowing her to remain in his driveway for so long, and then following the trail to discover her back story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I honestly didn't like it. It is not my kind of book and in my opinion it is just BORING, couldn't even finish it. However I did read the Postscript (p.83) and I recommend to read it to everyone who didn't enjoy the book itself. Postscript is written in a different style and quite enjoyable to read. Alan Bennet continues the story of the lady and explains some parts, which I found confusing whilst reading his actual diary.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a short, but brilliant read - made all the more enjoyable knowing it is a true story.
Alan Bennetts keen observations of Life, and the people in it, add to the humour and emotion expressed throughout the book.
This 15 year dialogue is a tribute to Alan's generosity - Society would be a far better place if more people were as compassionate as he, to those less fortunate around them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Disappointed by the thickness of this book. Extremely slim and not as good as the movie!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Alan Bennet's sense of humour is dry but with an amusement that satisfies one fully. In diary form writing about a lady that many of us will have come across at least once in our lifetime. I could almost smell the van and see this precious soul living a vagrant life with such grace and aplomb... Excellent reading...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoy watching, listening to and reading Alan Bennett. He's so dead pan, but wickedly funny, and this book is great. I can vividly imagine the old lady living in a van outside his home, and the conversations they had. Brilliant.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thoroughly enjoyed the book by Alan Bennett, what a marvellous patient man he is. Havent been able to see the film yet but looking forward to it. I could imagine Maggie Smith in it just made for her. Super read couldnt put the book down.
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