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4.5 out of 5 stars
16
4.5 out of 5 stars
Four Stories
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on 24 September 2017
Made me laugh a lot. PB..
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 15 October 2012
I love Alan Bennett's work. Everything he does has that beautifully worked quality where every word matters and every line is considered and it all balances so wonderfully. This collection of short stories is no exception. His skill at capturing turns of phrase, emotional nuances and stupendously good dialogue is second to none. All the stories are fabulous, but the two which worked the best for me were; The Lady in the Van, which should be read here, and also seen on stage to capture its full effect, and The Clothes They Stood Up In, which is just a work of wonder. It doesn't really matter what the stories are about. What matters is that Bennett captures life so wonderfully on every page.
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on 24 September 2007
Is there a literary form which really suits what Bennett's best at? It's the story-telling embedded in conversation he's wonderful at capturing, and which so runs through these stories, especially (for me), 'The Laying on of Hands' and 'The Clothes They Stood Up In'. But in fiction, I guess he gets diverted. A curious turn of phrase or tired cliche and he's diverted for a whole paragraph, just riffing or playing with it. Like a kid walking past a sweet shop, he just can't resist it. But story and character do suffer. And the endings...well, he doesn't like doing them, which is why the diary form suits him best, when he can stop and move on when he's tired by an idea. For example, the first story here has a wonderful opening, some sharp observations and very drole moments, and then a contrived and rather embarassing ending. But who cares! A page by Bennett is worth twenty by many writers.
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on 14 May 2012
Alan Bennett is one of the very best writers ever. I always love his stories especially with his caustic humor. I have a set of video tapes of him in Westminster Abbey and really hope they will put them out on DVD one of these days. Tapes don't last forever!
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on 12 January 2014
Well written and very engaging. Bennett has the gift of hearing how people speak and express themselves, and perciving how people lead their lives
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on 16 January 2011
Wry and gentle humour, overlying a fairly bleak view of life. The prognosis for his male characters is particularly pessimistic - a touch of the auto-biographicals? Also, hard not to hear a voice of caricature as you read.
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on 1 December 2016
I can't get enough of Alan Bennett.I am really enjoying the short stories.Love how he writes,such a master of 'people watching'.
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on 1 April 2013
Alan Bennett goes for broke, once again. If you like his work, you will also like this collection as well.
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on 5 May 2016
Typical Bennett. Closely observed and written with pin sharp clarity.
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on 29 January 2017
I love the idea of four short stories for travelling.
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