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3.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  395 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Edwin Fisher is on holiday at the English seaside - but this revisiting of childhood haunts is no ordinary holiday. Edwin is seeking to understand the failure of his marriage to Meg, but it turns out that her parents are staying at the same resort - whether by accident or design - and are keen to patch up the relationship. As the past and his enigmatic wife loom larger, de ...more
Paperback, 239 pages
Published August 1st 1999 by Five Leaves Publications (first published January 1st 1974)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,872)
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Courtney H.
Mar 10, 2012 Courtney H. rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookers
So, it cannot be easy to share the Booker with Nadine Gordimer, and it is perhaps that misfortune that has caused Holiday to fall into some obscurity. It is a quiet book (not that The Conservationist is loud), and has an entirely narrow focus: the inner workings of a single man’s mind, on holiday in the English seaside, as he tries to sort out why his marriage failed. He meets fellow holiday-goers, deals with the machinations of his ex-in-laws who are trying to force a truce (and piece the marr ...more
Dec 04, 2014 Albertine67 rated it liked it
I'd really looked forward to this, as it was an article in the Guardian earlier this year, on the book's release in paperback, that I first became aware of Middleton's work. Surprisingly I couldn't get this book in either library I use, but they did have some other novels of his, which I thought were terrific. Though this has its moments, I never felt very connected to it. I found the character of the wife, Meg, very sketchily developed and quite irritating - whereas in other books I'd thought M ...more
Paul Blakemore
Apr 24, 2013 Paul Blakemore rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Plain, serious and precise. There's nothing gimmicky or trivial about this book; it's just beautifully written and finely observed. I really loved it.
May 09, 2012 Katy rated it really liked it
I have been watching Mad Men a lot recently (no spoilers, I promise) but with the recollections that our main character (Edwin Fisher) has about his marriage, I can't help picture Don Draper and Megan. It has something to do with their fights and their passion.... Now, Edwin is not nearly as attractive as Don Draper, but it's just something about the relationship that reminds me of them.

This book is just so.... English. Stiff upper lip all the way. Even when married women are letting divorced me
Rick Patterson
Mar 28, 2016 Rick Patterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a deceptively simple little read. The premise seems to be bland: Edwin Fisher, instructor in educational philosophy for the UK Department of Education, has left his wife, Meg, because of domestic differences and has taken a week off at Bealthorpe, a seaside resort town (that may be an alias for Bournemouth) where he tries to put his head back together about whether or not he wants to stay married. While there, he happens to meet his father-in-law, David Vernon, a solicitor who practises ...more
Jan 03, 2012 Caleigh rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 01, 2012 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edwin Fisher takes a holiday to a seaside resort following his divorce, only to find his ex-wife's parents staying there also. A subtle and engaging book.
Elizabeth Kelly
Aug 03, 2011 Elizabeth Kelly rated it liked it
An interesting look at marriage. Even though this is set over 30 years ago it still seems relatively accurate to todays society.
David James
Aug 27, 2015 David James rated it really liked it
Stanley Middleton, Holiday

‘Fifty years hence, someone will pull me out of his head. I am not displeased.’ Thus Stanley Middleton in his poem recalling names from the past. Author of over 40 novels, joint winner of the Booker Prize in 1975, Middleton refused an honour from the Wilson government, and published Holiday to refute Auberon Waugh’s dictum that flashbacks were the death of any good novel. In fact flashback is here an inherent part of the structure of Holiday, whose hero, Edwin Fisher du
Gibin Mathew
Jun 18, 2015 Gibin Mathew rated it it was ok
Boring !! Boring !!

The entire read is slow and dragging. The writing style is plain with transitions(Fisher’s thoughts/memories) in between them seems unfit and unrecognisable which is confusing and breaking the natural flow. Sometimes we won’t understand that ,Fisher is describing his thoughts.

The story is about a married man who is going through his mid life family crisis and how he overcome it. I really hated the way it ended(A divorce would he been a happy ending). I don’t know how a husband
Sally Flint
May 04, 2014 Sally Flint rated it it was ok
What a relief to finish this book and feel like my reading time is my own again (silly man booker challenge!) I only started to enjoy this in the last two chapters which is too late! A thirty something man, leaves his wife and goes on holiday to a seaside town evoking memories of his father of his overbearing shopkeeper father. He spends the week, exploring his relationships with other people in the bed and breakfast in which he stays, has a series of mild flirtations and reflects on the various ...more
Alex Rendall
May 17, 2013 Alex Rendall rated it it was ok
Shelves: booker-prize
Stanley Middleton was jointly awarded the Booker Prize in 1974 with Nadine Gordimer. Middleton’s Holiday is, on the face of it, a novel about a man who goes to a British seaside town for a week-long holiday. In reality, education lecturer Edwin Fisher is escaping from the death of his son and his crumbling marriage to grieving, volatile Meg. Through a series of flashbacks, prompted by events during his holiday, the reader sees how Edwin first met Meg, their courtship and eventual marriage, the b ...more
Jul 30, 2015 Ali rated it really liked it
In 1974 the Booker Prize was shared between Nadine Gordimer for The Conservationist (still on my tbr after several years) and Stanley Middleton for Holiday.

Having recently separated from his wife Meg, school master Edwin Fisher decides to spend a week in an English seaside holiday resort. Bealthorp is a place Edwin knows well, a place he holidayed with his parents when he was a child. Now, in his thirties, his marriage in trouble, following the devastating loss of their son, Fisher has a lot to
Nov 03, 2014 Ian rated it really liked it
This is a disquieting and subtly delivered story. We spend a week in a seaside holiday resort with Edwin Fisher as he tries to make sense of his marriage. He has separated from his wife and, as the week passes, we are party to his memories of his marriage, his family, and his wider approach to life. At times hard to hold on to, his reality shifts with each day, made more complex by the arrival of his wife's parents, as they try to heal the marriage. He is both passionate and detached, hurt and b ...more
Feb 23, 2014 Carolyn rated it liked it
***spoiler alert***

I neither loved not hated this book, more I just felt it missed the opportunity to be... more. More passionate, more angsty, more angry at life's injustices. edwin Fisher has a choice to make, but its almost like he falls into it. he neither jumps at the chance to get back with Meg, nor feels dragged back into the relationship. it just all seemed a bit 'meh', which is a shame because I had warmed to him and the depiction of a different of-the-time Britain. I wanted something m
Mary Lou
Feb 24, 2013 Mary Lou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fisher takes a week's holiday in the same English seaside town he went to as a child. Recalling with embarrassment the way his father used to interact with his fellow boarding house guests, he is surprised to find himself acting in much the same way.
An acutely drawn picture of life in the early 70s, things get much darker as Fisher mulls over whether or not to return to the unusal marriage he has recently walked away from.
Alexandra Popovic
Aug 09, 2014 Alexandra Popovic rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookers
Very boring. Yet another nail in the coffin that holds my faith in the Man Booker Prize. There's very little change in scenery, and I don't know if it was just my copy or not, but there were tons of typos and grammatical errors - some sentences were almost unreadable. I only gave it 2 stars because I appreciated his character development, and some of the flashbacks were nicely done.
Mary Crawford
Sep 28, 2015 Mary Crawford rated it liked it
This was a slow book for me. I found the detailed writing really good and it reminded me of holidays in boarding houses in the early seventies. The descriptions of the social interactions along with Fisher's (the main character) internal thought processes were captivating but I didn't really care what happened by the end of the book.
Jul 28, 2015 Hugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the prosaic and downbeat subject matter (man goes on holiday to Lincolnshire seaside town and considers whether to attempt to save his failing marriage) this book was surprisingly perceptive and moving, and I can understand why it won the Booker prize. Full of sharp observation, wry humour and humanity.
Dec 03, 2012 Anne rated it liked it
Many of the descriptions of people by the seaside in the 70s struck a chord, but the main character didn't really do the same. He struck me as a spineless drifter. Couldn't really see how the novel won the Booker!
Cary O'Donnell
Aug 03, 2015 Cary O'Donnell rated it it was ok
Odd writing style: lots of slow, detailed dialogue juxtaposed to plot outline. Think episodes of Coronation Street interspersed with drafts for a creative writing plot.
Apr 11, 2014 Alex rated it liked it
So-so read about a man separated from his wife, trying to figure out what is up next in his life. Told largely through a series of flashbacks.
Doris Raines
Mar 31, 2016 Doris Raines rated it really liked it
Shelves: doris-shelf
I. Really. Like. This. Book
Apr 28, 2011 Deanne rated it it was ok
Shelves: booker-winners
All I can think is there must have been a better choice for the Booker in 1974.
Catrien Deys
May 17, 2014 Catrien Deys rated it liked it
Lots of printing errors but still a good read; genuine.
David Whittlestone
Jul 13, 2015 David Whittlestone rated it liked it
Shelves: light-reading
Homely little story nicely written. A quick read.
Dec 15, 2008 Jen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
1974 booker prize
Feb 29, 2008 Gina marked it as to-read
Shelves: get, awards-to-read
1973 Booker
Mar 28, 2015 Val marked it as to-read
Shelves: bookers
1974 (joint)
I was actually thinking this was going to be a really good book. But. It was well written an dull as dishwater. Nothing really new, ideas/theories came from this Man Booker Prize-winning novel. I mean, the story is about a man who has temporarily left his wife, but it seems to deliver the same-old same-old kind of stuff. I will say, though, that Middleton does achieve a phrase or two that excite and give a pretty picture. But he is not the philosophical artist that other British authors who win ...more
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The Opening of Holiday 1 4 Nov 16, 2013 02:47AM  
  • Saville
  • Something to Answer For
  • The Elected Member
  • The Old Devils
  • G.
  • The Conservationist
  • Offshore
  • In a Free State
  • Rites of Passage (To the Ends of the Earth, #1)
  • Staying On
  • How Late It Was, How Late
  • The Siege of Krishnapur (Empire Trilogy, #2)
  • Heat and Dust
  • Moon Tiger
  • Sacred Hunger
  • Last Orders
  • Hotel du Lac
  • The Famished Road
Stanley Middleton wrote 45 novels, including 1974's Booker Prize-winner Holiday. A Cautious Approach was his last novel.
More about Stanley Middleton...

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“Everybody judges from the point of view of his own inadequacy.” 0 likes
“Here, at it again, he'd met, questioned, made friendly contact with a stranger when he ought to have been at home on his knees to his wife.” 0 likes
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