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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 22 February 2014
First published in 1977, Beryl Bainbridge's sharp, black comedy 'Injury Time' focuses on Edward Freeman, a middle-aged married accountant who, frightened of being discovered by his exceedingly competent wife, Helen, is conducting a very cautious affair with his mistress, Binny. Divorcee, mother of three, and fed up with being kept very much in the background, Binny manages to persuade Edward to invite a friend of his, George Simpson, and his wife, Muriel, to supper one evening. However, Binny's triumph is rather short-lived; for one thing she is worried about the appearance of her rather dilapidated house, her cooking skills are fairly limited, she has had to bribe her children to go out, and when Edward arrives, he seems uneasy and preoccupied. Added to that, the Simpsons get lost in Binny's rather insalubrious neighbourhood and arrive late to shrivelled lamb chops, Binny's intoxicated, leopard-skin coated friend Alma turns up uninvited and throws up on the carpet, and finally to add insult to injury, a gang of armed bank robbers barge their way into Binny's home and hold all five of them to ransom. Edward, believe it or not, is more worried about arriving late home and having to explain himself to Helen than he is about the possible repercussions of being held at gunpoint by a gang of inept robbers.

Winner of the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel of 1977, this amusing, lively and eccentric little story doesn't let up on the action and entertainment from start to finish, but it's not laughter all the way, and some aspects are not just painfully comical, but are rather disturbing to read. That said, Beryl Bainbridge uses language beautifully and she has an unsentimental and sharply observant eye which she uses quite mercilessly on her rather flawed characters, making this an interesting, entertaining and, at times, a poignant read.

4 Stars.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 September 2009
This is a very funny and clever little piece of work, concerning Edward (married accountant) who is having a secret affair with Binny (mother and divorcee). Binny holds a dinner party for Edward, his friends Simpson and wife Muriel, who is reckoned to be broadminded enough not to mind that Edward is a supposedly respectable married man. Muriel does turn out to be sympathetic, but then Binny's drunken friend Alma turns up and throws up all over the floor. Shortly afterwards a criminal gang being chased by the police break in and take everyone hostage.

The phrase "Injury time" derives from Binny's extended metaphor of a football game being just like life - they have so little time in which to accomplish their goals. Binny's goal is to get Edward to leave his wife for her, but she is sometimes disgusted with both herself and Edward at the clichéd behaviour they each seem forced to employ.

The writing is brilliantly sharp and witty and I kept thinking what a marvellous film this would make. This is one of those books that makes you laugh out loud - a brilliant exposé of the manners and mores of the middle classes in extremis.
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on 20 March 2009
Long before cringe comedies began to litter our screens Beryl Bainbridge was writing cringe novels in which foolish individuals dig themselves into awful situations because of their grandiose selfishness or infidelity. Nobody depicts the sheer crassness of human social behaviour and its absurd communication failures in such a hilarious yet terrible way. Injury time is typical of her work. Edward Freeman decides to hold a party at the house of his mistress to placate her niggling jealousy of his wife. He invites a few of his more trusted friends but he has to be away by ten o'clock to avoid suspicion. However, when some uninvited guests arrive it is plain that he is going nowhere. The resultant situation is both excruciatingly funny and excruciatingly horrible. If you enjoy this you will love `Babes in the Wood' and `The Bottle Factory Outing'.
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Edward, a married middle aged accountant, decides to compensate his mistress Binny for spending so little time with her.
'He denied her the simple pleasures a wife took for granted- that business of cooking his meals, remembering his sister's birthday, putting intricate little bundles of socks in his drawer.'
So he selects a broadminded couple of friends to attend a dinner party at Binny's. After she has offloaded her awful children, made an attempt at cooking dinner in her rather grotty kitchen and they have got through the initial awkwardness, things seem to be going OK. But events are about to take an unexpected turn...
Quite a funny novel with many clever little observations on life and people.
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on 7 February 2011
I bought this after BB's death when I read that AN Wilson (or someone) rated it as her best book.
I always thought BB looked a bit sad & worn so it was a relief to find the book so funny (as well as poignant). Although a snapshot of its time, it hasn't dated. It's also refreshingly unsentimental. It's just a really great book.
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on 14 May 2013
Very nicely observed slice of comedy and drama from BB. Extremely well written, with amazingly perceptive observations about human relationships. The brilliant sideways turn in the plot (about halfway through) brings into even sharper focus the quirks and peculiarities of the great characters who have been so well established early on. As has been noted, would make a great film or play.
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on 5 May 2015
This was recommended as being funny, but I can't say I enjoyed this book - it was not that amusing. Also, I did not warm to the characters. Despite reading 40% of the book, I found it rather disappointing and did not finish it.
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on 18 September 2015
Book arrived within the advised timescales. It was a clean copy in good condition.
It's not a long book & so was quickly read. It's an easy but thought provoking read & left me with lots of unanswered questions.
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on 30 May 2015
This is my first Beryl Bainbridge novel and I very much enjoyed the humor,and will be reading more of her stories. I would like it to reading a carry on film,but with more integrity.
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on 12 June 2015
really enjoyable funny if unlikely story, made me laugh!
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