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Smut: Stories

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  1,812 ratings  ·  356 reviews
One of England’s finest and most loved writers explores the uncomfortable and tragicomic gap between people’s public appearance and their private desires in two tender and surprising stories.

InTheGreening of Mrs. Donaldson,a recently bereaved widow finds interesting ways to supplement her income by performing as a patient for medical students, and renting out her spare roo
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ebook, 160 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Picador (first published 2011)
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·Karen·
Oooooh Mr Bennett, you are naughty. :-O

Eros and Thanatos - a definite win for Eros in The Greening of Mrs Donaldson

Truth and Lies and Internet - truth not getting much of a look in at all in The Shielding of Mrs Forbes

I fear for Mr Bennett's health: he may well have burst a blood vessel in this effort to shake himself free of his image as Cosy National Treasure. But he really can't shock, no matter how he tries. Not while he uses such delightfully appropriate but gently dated turns of phrase. Ex
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Petra X
Just a couple of stories. The first of a rather meek, middle-aged housewife who rents out rooms discovering the titillating joys of voyeurism. The second of a married gay lad who is having sex with a rather nasty policeman who is also his mother's lover. His stepfather is screwing his wife. With all this infidelity and self-absorbtion going on, no-one has any idea of anyone else's peccadillos, which makes it very entertaining.

The stories really are smutty. They aren't overtly sexual or dirty, bu
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Jacob
February 2012

Smut!

Smut smut!

Smut smut smut smut smut!

SMUUUTTTTT!

Smut.

But I digress (smut!). I've been reading through Alan Bennett's fiction lately (avoiding his plays for some reason, but I should probably read them too), and I couldn't resist a title or a cover like this. Smut! Teacup sex! And two stories:

Slightly smutty: To supplement her income, the widowed title character in "The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson" volunteers as a test patient for medical students and rents out her spare room to a
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Susan Tunis
Naughty was never so nice

I’m a fan of Alan Bennett’s wonderful plays, but my greatest affection is reserved for his charming novella The Uncommon Reader. Coming in at a slight 160 pages, Smut is similar in length, but this book is made up of two brief stories. In content, they have nothing in common with that earlier tale, but they exhibit the same trademark humor and warmth. This is a writer it’s difficult not to like. Therefore, it may be surprising to hear that Mr. Bennett is writing Smut. Th
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Bruno Bouchet
Bennet is always a delight. He's one of those authors that can slip the most powerful pathos and profundity in the seemingly mundane. Even without being his greatest works, the two stories in Smut are a joy to read contain enough nuggets of classic Bennet observations to be well worth the read. I read some criticisms that for a book called Smut, the stories really were quite tame. I think that misses the point entirely, and misses what the word smut actually means. Smut isn’t full on outrageous ...more
Cecily
Two delightful and very Bennettian short stories, each of which is best read in one go. Goodness knows what non-Brits make of them!

They are not very smutty and not very plausible, but they are great fun. As with many of his works, a combination of repressed feelings (not all of them sexual) and respectability hide thoughts, feelings and actions that may seem out of character, but are actually fundamental to who the person is. And yet the characters do not, initially at least, realise what they h
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Cheryl
Funny book. It is two short stories, both about middle aged women in circumstances or situations that, in former times may have been regarded primly as smutty, something which this book is not. It is witty and clever, light hearted, and gently pokes fun at society's preoccupations with "how things look".

[from 'The Shielding of Mrs Forbes'] “In the years since he was born her sights had risen and Graham was not nearly the classy name she’d once thought. She wished now that she could get rid of i
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Kristen
This book is my answer to all the hype about Fifty Shades of Grey, which I will not read. Ann Patchett recommended Smut on her blog that she started on the website for her new independent book store parnassusbooks.net. She wrote 'Smut is just dirty enough, it is the perfect balance of dirty and very properly British. It is extremely funny and as neatly pieced together as a Swiss watch'. It was a fun read and I look forward to reading some of his other work.
Tamsin Barlow


Not as salacious as the title suggests but it did help me stay awake on the plane. Really lovely writing though I still have trouble imagining such seemingly milquetoast people have such racy secret lives. Isn't everyone nice and boring and non-duplicitous like me?
Mark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pamela
Just finished "Smut".

Get a kick out of the title--nothing like going to my local library, where a copy of the book was being held for me behind a busy counter, and being asked for the title by a busy assistant in front of a line of people (I gave him the author's name!). Here it is 2012, my community's library is active, modern, and well-run, and I balked at calling out "Smut!" in front of eight people!

Anyway, did enjoy this. It's the first thing I've read by Bennett. Although, overall, I was s
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Jill
According to the Urban Dictionary, smut translates to highly developed stories with love lines and other things that appeal to women, with a lot of sexually explicit scenes. By that definition, is Alan Bennett’s latest novel truly about smut?

The ambiguous answer: yes but not really. Smut really tackles the theme of how those of us, living within narrow boundaries of social convention, break free from conforming to appearances. The result is entertaining, amusingly quirky British humor at its bes
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Marianne
“Smut: two unseemly stories” is, as the title suggests, an omnibus of two short stories by English author and actor, Alan Bennett. The first story is The Greening of Mrs Donaldson. Mrs Donaldson, recently widowed, finds herself a little short on cash and decides to take a student couple as lodgers. When they find themselves unable to pay the rent, they come to a novel arrangement with their landlady. Mrs Donaldson’s other source of income is working as a Simulated Patient in medical student trai ...more
Kara
I started this book at Alewife, and was laughing out loud by Kendall. At my client's office, I casually tried to hide the title while I snuck in a read in the lobby. Smut! What would he think? This was an easy read with some smut and humor mixed in. The first section is about a window who performs as a patient for medical students and rents out an extra room in her house. Smut happens! The second story is of a son trying to live up to his mother's expectations.

The book was not without flaws. The
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Crawford
Smut is an evocative word, of something dirty; it’s a word that invokes cringe.

I was surprised to learn that smut is a black colloidal substance consisting of amorphous carbon and used to make pigments and ink; it also refers to a destructive disease of cereal grasses caused by a fungi (Ustilaginales) that produces black powdery masses of spores; I guess that is the “dirty” connotation. The cringe comes from it being an offensive or indecent word or phrase. Some might argue that the title of th
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Robert Carraher


Smut: Stories

Imagine, if you will, that the cast of Monte Python got together and wrote dirty little stories. Only they wrote them in a somewhat serious mode – of course, being Monte Python they would need to be full of tongue in cheek, satirical and cynical humor that shined a mirror back at the inanities of real life and real people and society in general.

Alan Bennett is one of Britain's most beloved playwrights, screenwriters, actors and authors. Oxford educated , he studied history and perf
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Samir Rawas Sarayji
Smut, is a collection of two novella-like short stories: ‘The Greening of Mrs Donaldson’ and ‘The Shielding of Mrs Forbes’.

The first story is about a widow, Mrs Donaldson, who works part time in a university hospital as a patient (acting out symptoms) for students to figure out as part of their studies. She also rents out a room in her house to a student couple and when they fall behind in their rent, they approach her with the proposition to let her watch them having intercourse. She agrees and
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Sam
I'm going to start this review by stating that I am a big Alan Bennett fan (The Uncommon Reader is amongst my favourite books), so I had high expectations for this collection of two new novellas and jumped at the chance to read and review them via NetGalley. Smut contains the stories "The Greening of Mrs Donaldson" and "The Shielding of Mrs Forbes" and both are about the secrets behind the net curtains of middle-class England.

The Greening of Mrs Donaldson is about a widower who takes on a job as
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Lisa
In The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson, an average English widow takes in two lodgers, a young couple. When they can't pay the rent, they offer her another, very different type of payment. Outside the home, she volunteers as a "sick" person for medical residents, becoming quite adept at donning any disease or disorder. She's blooming in a way, and escaping her "true" self, whoever that is.

In The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes, her only beloved child, Graham, perfect in looks and smarts, hides a secret life
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Dickon Edwards
Two wry yet poignant novellas, one of which was published in the LRB, one brand new. Weird to see Alan Bennett characters using the internet and mobile phones, when AB himself famously has no computer - he uses a manual typewriter bought from a Bradford charity shop...

Enjoyed both, though they are more of the same sort of thing: an older lady discovers an unlikely new lease of life from a sexual 'arrangement' with her tenants to pay the rent, while another older lady is kept from knowing the tr
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Erin
[A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review]

3.5 stars.

Smut! What a fantastic word.

In these two stories, ‘The Greening of Mrs Donaldson’ and ‘The Shielding of Mrs Forbes’ we experience a lot of smutty sex; straight sex, gay sex, extramarital sex, cyber-sex, sex in company, sex that’s paid for, sex that’s paying for something – all reined back by a typically British tameness that stops it being trashy and allows it to be… smutty.

Bennett’s pr
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Dave
Good little book of two "unseemly" stories. Very proper unseemly stories--though neither is likely to be added to a high school reading list. The first story - "The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson" - is better - the targets (prudishness, pigeonholing) are still there, but it's also a stronger celebration of being alive. The second story is simpler, less thought out; more a basic mockery of expected behavior. They are both funny, but the first is as good or better than some of the "Talking Heads" play ...more
Eleanor Cleverly
I hesitate not giving this book five stars. I didn't, though not for some lack in the quality of Bennett's writing, wit of storytelling, ingenuity of plot, or the amount of pleasure I had in reading these two short, but without doubt, simple, rich stories, but because I reserve that rating for only those books that are utterly life changing. While Bennett is a brilliant writer, and Smut is a charming account of the tawdry details in constrained WASP living, it will not fundamentally alter anythi ...more
Iva
Is there anyone as much fun to read as Alan Bennett? With his original premise(s), i.e. The Common Reader, and his remarkable and observant wit, there isn't a dull sentence in these two novellas. The first is the strongest and is loosely a plot twisting story of a recent widow who takes in a young student couple as lodgers. They offer to pay their rent in a highly original way. For those who haven't discovered Alan Bennett, you may start here; for his fans, save this one for a very special treat ...more
Marie
(A free book from work, not one I would have chosen off the shelves myself.)

I never cease to be amazed (and, invariably, vaguely depressed) at men's depictions or ideas (fantasies) of women's sexuality. Who are these women, allegedly so "honestly depicted", as some blurb reads? I can't help but wonder why some authors think it such a good idea to write about things of which they appear to have no notion. These two tales, while certainly well written on the level of the language itself, with quit
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Thomas Ullman
Alan Bennett is a lovely man. Lovely writer, kindly, gentle and wise. His short stories and reflections on life past and present are always worth reading. Anyone who allowed a batty old woman to live in her caravan on his driveway for many years deserves respect!

Smut is short, witty and....smutty.

The first story is particularly memorable where a 'respectable' middle aged lady agrees to let her lodgers pay their rent in kind. She agrees to watching them have sex. It is very funny as Mrs Donaldson
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Tony
SMUT. (2012). Alan Bennett. ****.
This is a collection of two novellas by Bennett that deal with the reactions of his characters below the surface. From the title, the obvious guess is that the reactions deal with sex. Right you are! In the first tale, “The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson,” we meet our heroine after she has recently lost her husband. In an effort to make ends meet and have a little extra, she takes a job at a hospital where her role is to play act as a patient – exhibiting various sym
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Kieran Walsh
How could any reader not love Bennett? Ever since The Madness of King George and An Uncommon Reader I’ve been a huge fan. I felt like Smut was an epic example of a writing style that’s matured beautifully. Coming of age stories are always the great stuff of books but coming of age for an older character is even more heroic. You want them to evolve and be the change because a wasted life is so tragic.
The two stories are brilliant (though I did rather The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson). Due to widow
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Cristina
Dos historias nada decentes es exactamente lo que se encontrará el lector que se adentre en el último libro de Alan Bennett.

Sirviéndose de situaciones aparentemente inverosímiles, el autor trae a colación facetas de la naturaleza humana de las que habitualmente prefiere no hablarse; porque bien es sabido que de lo que no se habla, no existe. Pero él sí habla y además lo hace de un modo divertidísimo, jugando con lo absurdo y utilizando en no pocas ocasiones una crítica mordaz, aunque sin dejar d
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Michelle
Lately, there has been a spate of novels that enforce the lesson that one can never truly know someone else. While someone may portray himself in a public persona as polished and urbane, this same person could be struggling with a mental disorder or harboring a hoarding fetish. One just never knows and can never know all of the details. Smut is yet another example of this, focusing on sexual proclivities instead of other personality traits.

What is Smut? This is one instance where the author's ch
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Alan Bennett is an English author and Tony Award-winning playwright. Bennett's first stage play, Forty Years On, was produced in 1968. Many television, stage and radio plays followed, along with screenplays, short stories, novellas, a large body of non-fictional prose and broadcasting, and many appearances as
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More about Alan Bennett...
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“Remember. You are a physician. You are not a policeman nor are you a minister of religion. You must take people as they come. Remember, too that though you will generally know more about the condition than the patient, it is the patient who has the condition and this if nothing else bestows on him or her a kind of wisdom. You have the knowledge but that does not entitle you to be superior. Knowledge makes you the servant not the master.” 5 likes
“Still, for all that everybody, while not happy, is not unhappy about it. And so they go on.” 1 likes
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