Picks and Pans Review: Mum and Mr. Armitage

UPDATED 08/31/1987 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/31/1987 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Beryl Bainbridge

These dozen stories are by an original, funny British writer who has a singular view of her fellow human beings. In the title story, a resort hotel comes to life only when Mum and Mr. Armitage appear. They are lively. They play tricks; when they are gone, the permanent guests recount their outrageous behavior. Then one day, trying to be kind to a lonely old recluse, Mum and Mr. Armitage go too far. Their stunts inspire a silly young woman to play a frightening prank, and things are never the same. That theme of folks who go too far is echoed in "Beggars Would Ride," a fantasy about an ancient device that grants wishes. When one terrible tennis player stumbles over it, he wishes that he and his opponent might have a good game. They then play brilliantly and one of them begins to think of Wimbledon. But of course they go too far. In "Through a Glass Brightly," a middle-aged man is stranded in life when his wife deserts him for a woman. The man tells fortunes at a neighborhood fair and finds a satisfying revenge. Bainbridge's characters are wonderful actors, straining, blustering to entertain us—a little naive, often muddled. These stories, like her novels, are packed with a point of view that is uniquely British and uniquely Bainbridgian. (McGraw-Hill, $15.95)

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Inside Kate's Life as a Princess Mom
  • Inside Kate's Life as a Princess Mom
  • A Duggar Engaged
  • Amanda Bynes: The Truth About Her Condition

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters