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The Pumpkin Eater

Written by Penelope Mortimer

Part of the Penguin Modern Classics Series

The Pumpkin Eater Synopsis

'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.

The Pumpkin Eater Press Reviews

The themes in this short novel are timeless. There are lessons here for us all * The 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 * 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 * A seriously good writer * Telegraph * 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 * 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 * 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 Beautiful ... almost every woman I can think of will want to read this book -- Edna O'Brien

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241240106
Publication date: 2nd July 2015
Author: Penelope Mortimer
Publisher: Penguin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 160 pages

About Penelope Mortimer

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.

More About Penelope Mortimer

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