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Birds of Passage
Mrs Pickering and Mrs Walsh didn't want their husbands to die but they did want to survive them for the cruise. It would be such fun: just the two them together on a boat, decently and thankfully widowed at last. But the sea holds hidden perils for women of a certain age...
Paperback, 224 pages
Published 1982 by Abacus
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I don't know why Bernice Rubens isn't better known in the U.S. She won a Booker, but not for this book. Her characters are wonderfully developed, the plot moves along at an engaging pace, and she is funny and observant. Those fans of Barbara Pym might welcome this as well as Jane Gardam and early Hilary Mantel. Recommended, but only if you can find a copy. (And try to find a review--I may be the only American to have read her!)
Bernice Rubens was born in Cardiff, Wales in July 1928. She began writing at the age of 35, when her children started nursery school. Her second novel, Madame Sousatzka (1962), was filmed by John Schlesinger filmed with Shirley MacLaine in the leading role in 1988. Her fourth novel, The Elected Member, won the 1970 Booker prize. She was shortlisted for the same prize again in 1978 for A Five Year ...moreMore about Bernice Rubens...