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Master Georgie

3.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 4 hours and 34 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: AudioGO Ltd.
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 29 Jan. 2008
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SQ3EUW

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
George Hardy, surgeon and photographer, travels from 19th century Liverpool to the Bosphorus at the start of the Crimean War. Chapters are narrated by different characters. These are Myrtle (his adoptive sister taken in as an orphan), Pompey Jones (a former street urchin turned photographer's assistant and sometime fire-eater) and Doctor Potter (his geologist friend).

Beryl Bainbridge writes superbly and both time and place are brilliantly captured. We are not spared the horrors of war but her approach is subtle. The disastrous charge of the Light Brigade is conveyed by the description of the many riderless horses appearing in their camp.

She cleverly uses the new technology of photography to help with the structure of the book and each chapter title describes a photographic scene - like a series of wonderful tableaux.

I was however less convinced by some of the characterisations. Georgie never really came alive for me and I remained unconvinced as to why Myrtle and Pompey should have been so devoted to him.
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Format: Paperback
Beryl Bainbridge's novel Master Georgie is a fascinating insight into the Crimean war and the complex relationships of human beings. Written from differing persepectives, Bainbridge draws on the idea that all experiences are unique, and highlights differing techniques for dealing with extremes of human suffering.
Master Georgie, doctor and medical photographer, has a tremendous hold over all characters in the novel - so much so that they travel to accompany the doctor in his war efforts. Myrtle is besotted with George and vows never to leave his side, despite his obvious lack of interest in women. Bainbridge infers that he prefers the attentions of Pompey Jones, a photographer with whom he is having an implied homosexual relationship. Dr Potter seems to have the least tie to George, but is probably the most endearing character in the novel.
An ageing academic, Dr Potter avoids the personal trauma he is experiencing to think about his wife. He is a man of learning and an avid philosopher, who is used to dealing with situations rationally. War to Dr. Potter is merely unorganised chaos. When the group are ordered on to different locations, Dr. Potter's interest in geography takes over, and he takes in the scenery - his intellect is often his saviour. But Potter is a complex character. His coping mechanism tends to be to create humour out of potentially life-threatening situations. He admits that life is nothing without reading books and lying close to his wife. Potter's sentimentality is his downfall, and he sinks further into disarray by the end of the novel.
The novel is of interest as it deals with the stark clarity of the war situation and juxtaposes the ambiguity of relationships. It is most fascinating for the way in which different characters engage with the trauma surrounding them. An interesting comparison is Barker's novel, Regeneration, which deals with psychological and mental repercussions of war. A really good read.
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Format: Paperback
At first glance Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge suggests it might be quite a light book, an easy read, a period piece set in the mid-nineteenth century. This would be wrong. Master Georgie is no safe tale of country house manners, of marriages imagined by confined, embroidering young women. Beryl Bainbridge's Master Georgie is anything but a tale of such saccharine gentility.

Master Georgie is a surgeon and photographer, and the book is cast in six plates - photographic plates, not chapters. Death figures throughout. From start to finish morbidity crashes into the lives of the book's characters. We begin with Mr Moody, dead in a brothel bed, his host of minutes before in shock. Later we move to the Crimean War, where the carnage is graphic, extensive and apparently random. And even then individuals find their own personal ways of adding insult and injury to the suffering.

The book uses multiple points of view. We see things Master Georgie's way. Myrtle, an orphan he takes in, adds her perspective. The fussy geologist, Dr Potter, imprints his own version of reality. And still there are less than explained undercurrents, undeclared motives which affect them all. Thus, overall, Master Georgie is a complex and ambitious novel. Though it is set in a major war, the backdrop is never allowed to dominate. The characters experience the consequences of conflict and register their reactions, but we are never led by the nose trough the history or the geography of the setting.

But we also never really get to know these people. Myrtle, perhaps, has the strongest presence. She has a slightly jaundiced, certainly pragmatic approach to life. But even she finds the privations of wartime tough.
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Format: Paperback
The idea of writing this novel about a character, George Hardy, but confining its “voice” to the three people most close to him gives George, the person, an almost mystical air and at the same time is a very good device to reveal snippets of his life as the story progresses.
The three narrators are, predictably, very different and the events they describe often clash amusingly. Myrtle is the most reverential to George and it is through her voice we perceive the sensitivity of Bainbridge’s story- she is also the most sympathetic. Dr Potter provides the humour (at his own expense) that lightens an otherwise bleak situation. Finally, Pompey Jones is similar to Myrtle in his devotion but almost her rival in love- he also provides the first hand account of the battle scenes at the end of the book which are unfortunately the least interesting or polished part of the book.
Bainbridge infuses the book with ambiguities of sexuality that sit beside the harshness of the war very well. What is interesting is the amount of gore and unpleasantness that permeates the supposedly “prim” Victorian values of the characters.
By far superior to Every Man For Himself and deserves its Booker Prize nomination. The length of MG was a disappointment; however, at only just over two hundred pages long I felt it didn’t develop its characters as well as it could- especially having three different narrators. Also the conflict near the end didn’t have the dramatic tension or interest I thought it should. A fine novel but much too short.
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