The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year

Sue Townsend

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year

The day her gifted twins leave home for university, Eva climbs into bed and stays there. For seventeen years she's wanted to yell at the world, 'Stop! I want to get off'. Finally, this is her chance. Perhaps she will be able to think. Her husband Dr Brian Beaver, an astronomer who divides his time between gazing at the expanding universe, an unsatisfactory eight-year-old affair with his colleague Titania and mooching in his shed, is not happy. Who will cook dinner? Eva, he complains, is either having a breakdown or taking attention-seeking to new heights. But word of Eva's refusal to get out of bed quickly spreads. Alexander the dreadlocked white-van man arrives to help Eva dispose of all her clothes and possessions and bring her tea and toast. Legions of fans are writing to her or gathering in the street to catch a glimpse of this 'angel'. Her mother Ruby is unsympathetic: 'She'd soon get out of bed if her arse was on fire.' And, though the world keeps intruding, it is from the confines of her bed that Eva at last begins to understand freedom. 3.8 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 448
RRP £18.99
Date of Publication March 2012
ISBN 978-0718157159
Publisher Michael Joseph
 

The day her gifted twins leave home for university, Eva climbs into bed and stays there. For seventeen years she's wanted to yell at the world, 'Stop! I want to get off'. Finally, this is her chance. Perhaps she will be able to think. Her husband Dr Brian Beaver, an astronomer who divides his time between gazing at the expanding universe, an unsatisfactory eight-year-old affair with his colleague Titania and mooching in his shed, is not happy. Who will cook dinner? Eva, he complains, is either having a breakdown or taking attention-seeking to new heights. But word of Eva's refusal to get out of bed quickly spreads. Alexander the dreadlocked white-van man arrives to help Eva dispose of all her clothes and possessions and bring her tea and toast. Legions of fans are writing to her or gathering in the street to catch a glimpse of this 'angel'. Her mother Ruby is unsympathetic: 'She'd soon get out of bed if her arse was on fire.' And, though the world keeps intruding, it is from the confines of her bed that Eva at last begins to understand freedom.

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Reviews

The Scotsman

Allan Massie

Many of her characters may fairly be described as grotesques. But the same may be said of Dickens ... Comedy is difficult to write, certainly to sustain. Sue Townsend manipulates her huge cast with dexterity. She is amused by the pretensions of mankind, aware of how often what seems normal behaviour to ourselves may appear as absurd to others. She recognises that nobody is a figure of fun to himself or herself. Even idiots like Brian have a sense of their own dignity. This is necessary if they are to keep going. Yet, while she points up absurdities, and revels in doing so, she is never unkind. Her writing has perfect poise.

25/02/2012

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The Sunday Times

Karen Robinson

Townsend creates a teeming world of characters whose foibles and misunderstandings provide glorious amusement.She misses nothing that is ridiculous about contemporary life ... But for all its laugh-out-loud moments, The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year uncovers lives spent fighting the effects of too little love, too much loneliness...

26/02/2012

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The Guardian

Alex Clark

There is much here that her fans will recognise from Adrian Mole's various diaries and from her other books ... her perfectly pitched sense of the pathos and absurdity of suburban life; the way that she sends up her misfits and malcontents while simultaneously displaying great tenderness towards them; her understanding of the defences that people build to keep what threatens to overwhelm them at bay. Townsend's fiction has often hinted at a darkness beneath the humour, but this novel gives it freer rein than previously … It is, consequently, an occasionally ragged book, its comic touches dissipated by lingering moments of bleakness.

25/02/2012

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The Independent

Susan Jeffreys

This is a book that's harsh on those with a mathematical or astronomical turn of mind. There's a self-fulfilling myth, among the arty classes, that they are somehow more sensitive and creative than the scientifically-minded; odd to find Townsend falling into this cliché. Pondering cosmic or mathematical infinity requires boldness and imagination, yet Brian, Brian Junior and Brianne are portrayed as narrow-brained cold-blooded nerds. They strike the only duff notes in a perceptive novel, written by an author whose sight has ebbed away. It's full of colour and complexity, is a bit bonkers, and glows with life.

24/02/2012

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