1999
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With three husbands in her past, one in her present and a numberless army of children, Mrs Armitage is astonished to find herself collapsing one day in Harrods.

Mrs Armitage has three husbands in her past, one in her present and a numberless army of children. They are building a great glass tower in the countryside, in which they will live happily ever after. 'Peter, Peter, Pumpkin eater Had a wife and couldn't keep her...' In this extraordinary, semi-autobiographical novel, Penelope Mortimer depicts a married woman's breakdown in 1960s London. With three husbands in her past, one in her present and a numberless army of children, Mrs Armitage is astonished to find herself collapsing one day in Harrods. Strange, unsettling and shot through with black comedy, this is a moving account of one woman's realisation that marriage and family life may not, after all, offer all the answers to the problems of living.

Details

ISBN13: 9780241240106
Format: Paperback / softback
Number of Pages: 160
Edition:
Publication Date: 2 Jul 2015
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication City, Country: London, United Kingdom
Dimensions (cm): 19.8(H) x 12.9(L) x 0.9(W)123
Weight (gm): 123

Author Biography

Penelope Mortimer was born in 1918 in Rhyl. At nineteen, she married a Reuters correspondent and had two daughters with him, as well as two more from other relationships. Her first novel, Johanna, was published in 1947. She re-married two years later, to John Mortimer, the barrister and author of the Rumpole novels; they had two children together and later divorced. Mortimer wrote many books, including The Pumpkin Eater (1962), which was adapted for the screen by Harold Pinter and made into a film starring Anne Bancroft and Peter Finch. Penelope Mortimer died in 1999.

Reviews

Beautiful ... almost every woman I can think of will want to read this book -- Edna O'Brien
A strange, fresh, gripping book. One of the the many achievements of The Pumpkin Eater is that it somehow manages to find universal truths in what was hardly an archetypal situation: Mortimer peels several layers of skin off the subjects of motherhood, marriage, and monogamy, so that what we're asked to look at is frequently red-raw and painful without being remotely self-dramatizing. In fact, there's a dreaminess to some of the prose that is particularly impressive, considering the tumult that the book describes -- Nick Hornby
Mortimer's style, spare and singular, cuts through the decades like a scalpel ... Will Penguin's new edition of The Pumpkin Eater encourage people to look again at Mortimer? I hope so. She is so good. I can't think of a writer more attentive to emotional weather -- Rachel Cooke * The Observer *
One of those novels which seem to be written with real knowledge of the brink of the abyss, taut almost beyond endurance * The Sunday Times *
A seriously good writer * Telegraph *
A subtle, fascinating, unhackneyed novel... in touch with human realities and frailties, unsentimental and amused... So moving, so funny, so desperate, so alive... [A] fine book, and one to be greatly enjoyed * The New York Times *
In this, her best book, Mortimer employs a steely, sceptical firm-eyed prose, which pays readers the compliment of regarding them almost as collaborators * Guardian *
The themes in this short novel are timeless. There are lessons here for us all * The Times *
The Pumpkin Eater
1999

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