The Beginning of Spring

Penelope Fitzgerald, Author Henry Holt & Company $18.45 (187p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0981-1
Booker Prize-winner Fitzgerald ( Offshore ; Innocence ) reveals here the depth of a distinct and imaginative talent to amuse. Set in Moscow in the spring of 1913, the story concerns an English household that has fallen apart with the unexpected flight of Nellie Reid, a good and proper wife and heretofore devoted mother of three young children. (Fitzgerald is especially good at very droll children.) Nellie's husband, Frank, must carry on with his family and printing business while holding out hope for her return. A mysterious young woman from the countryside--she may be a dryad--is engaged to care for the children, and the plot, such as it is, takes many unexpected turns. But one doesn't read Fitzgerald for plot structure so much as for her sheer powers of invention: her novel raises more questions than it means to answer. Rich in subtle characterizations, wit and wonderfully textured prose, Fitzgerald's seventh novel succeeds in evoking the very essence of life one long-ago spring at 22 Lipka Street. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-88184-598-3
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-395-90871-6
Paperback - 187 pages - 978-0-00-654370-1
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-1-85089-353-0
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-00-223261-6
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-547-52479-5
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-544-48411-5
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