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Master Georgie

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,339 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
The highly acclaimed New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 1998 and Booker Prize Nominee that reinvents the historical novel.

A misadventure in a brothel links the destiny of the enigmatic George Hardy, a surgeon and amateur photographer, to a foundling who becomes his obsessively devoted maid, a wily street boy who takes advantage of his sexual ambiguity, and his alte
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 15th 1999 by Da Capo Press (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 26, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-of-women
An interesting historical novel which won loads of prizes and accolades and is a brief and straightforward read. Bainbridge uses the medium of photography to hang the novel on; six photographic plates. The first two plates are set in Liverpool in 1846 and 1850 and the rest in 1854 in the Crimea.
The Master Georgie of the title is George Hardy, a surgeon and amateur photographer. His story is told alternately by three other characters. Myrtle is a foundling brought up by the Hardy’s after being fo
3 1/2? 3 3/4? Well ...

yup, another book I'm getting rid of today ... short, but as a hardcover it's taking up over 1/2 inch of shelf space ... shame!

Suppose you teach creative writing, and you've given an assignment (call it a term paper) to write a novella. Your star pupil, Ms. Bainbridge, turns in something called Master Georgie (forget the "a novel", at maybe 50-55000 words, this is a novella, as assigned).

Okay, you read it, and enjoy it quite a bit. Also, you're pretty impressed with some of
Sam Ruddock
Read: July 2010

Master Georgie in one tweet-sized chunk:
Short and apparently simple, Master Georgie is an enjoyable snapshot of lives and the Crimean War.

It is a rare delight to encounter a book of such apparent simplicity as Master Georgie. The narration – split between three voices – is compelling and smooth, the prose wonderfully uncluttered. It is overloaded neither with explicit themes or complicated ideas. There is no sense of a writer trying to be clever. Master Georgie is storytelling of
Huw Rhys
Aug 10, 2012 Huw Rhys rated it did not like it
Right - this is Beryl Bainbridge; it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; it is obviously a brilliant work of literature as judged by the "Literaty". There is obviously a great deal of clever literary mechanisms being used here; therefore how dare I not give this the most possible amount of marks that Goodreads allows?

But is it a "good read" for the casual reader? No, I'm afraid it wasn't. I found the plot far too fragmented; it required great leaps of imagination - or diligent back checking -
Jan 30, 2012 Emma rated it really liked it
Brilliant. I am ashamed to say that I had never read any Beryl Bainbridge before but I certainly will again. A great example of a wonderful plot enhanced by a literary device. Not only does the plot and characterization unfold and progress as each chapter is told from the first-person perspective of a different person but also the events and devastation of the Crimean War are opened and examined for us. This book was of particular interest to me for the spotlight it put not only on a period and ...more
1. Master Georgie reminds me, for sad and obvious reasons, of Helen Humphreys's novel Afterimage - a book I sometimes think no one else has read, although that's obviously impossible. They are kind of contemporary with each other, published within a year of each other and with the action of both books set only 11 years apart. Both deal with photography, both have lower-class young women with odd and deep ties to the family. I haven't read Afterimage in a while so the details are fuzzy, although ...more
В этой книге Бэйнбридж, на мой вкус, слишком много оторванных рук и хирургических операций в нестерильных условиях, но в остальном все по-прежнему прекрасно, а девушка Миртл - один из самых харизматичных рассказчиков в истории литературы.
Aug 17, 2011 Antoinette rated it it was ok
The second book I have read by Bainbridge and didn't particularly like. It is listed somewhere as historical fiction but the story is so personal that the history part seems to get lost with more history relegated to the last chapters.

If it is supposed to be a love story, it wasn't a good one. I didn't care about the characters. Each chapter is told by a different character and you sometimes had to be a page into the chapter before you could figure out who was narrating.

This is my last Bainbridg
Naleendra Weerapitiya
Jan 15, 2016 Naleendra Weerapitiya rated it really liked it
"Beryl, was on another level
( Beryl, every time they’d overlook her )
( Beryl, the tobacco overtook her )
When she got a Booker medal
She was dead in her grave
After all she gave It’s too late, you dabblers
It’s all too late" ("Beryl" - Mark Knopfler)

Five times the Bridesmaid, but never the Bride. When she did become "The Bride", "she was dead in the grave". Posthumously "they" did award her a Booker, a special award to the one they thought was the best among her five nominees, which "Master Geo
Jan 10, 2016 Karen rated it it was ok
This short novel won or was shortlisted for various awards and it gained much acclaim, but I just couldn’t engage with it and couldn’t work out what all the fuss was about. I can however appreciate that it is skilfully written and uses interesting literary mechanisms. Bainbridge is quoted as saying that most people have to read it at least three times before they understand it, so obviously I need to try again. Set in the lead up to and during the Crimean war, the story of George Hardy, a surgeo ...more
More of a novella than a novel, Master Georgie is a beautifully constructed piece of historical fiction, set during the Crimean War. Even in such a short work, Bainbridge uses her crisp prose to convey how chance, fate, and luck can affect the lives of ordinary people, and how the horrors of war have the capacity to change everything. A fine, fine piece of writing, and highly recommended.
Paul The Uncommon Reader
Must read again.

Beryl Bainbridge said (possibly tongue in cheek), that most people needed to read this book three times before they understood it. Well I read it once, too quickly probably, and definitely feel I didn't understand it. Unless, of course, that is the point (which would be why Bainbridge might have had her tongue in her cheek).

Calling the six parts (chapters) of the book "plates" might be a clue. At the time in which the novel (novella?) is set, photography was in its infancy, and w

(hide spoiler)]

Dec 14, 2010 Barbara rated it did not like it
I had lots of difficulty with this book. I don't recommend it.
The subject is quite gruesome. The characters were not likeable. There are 3 different narrators and they all speak with the same voice. (If you have read "Poisonwood Bible" you know how effective it is to have narrators who speak in different voices.)
Mark Kilmer
Jun 16, 2016 Mark Kilmer rated it really liked it
I picked this up from a leave-a-book pile at work. I have heard of Beryl Bainbridge -- there was a flurry of chat when she died -- but she wasn't really on my radar. The briefness of the novel was appealing; I like short novels.

I really like this. It sort of meanders around, and as other people have said, it doesn't have much of a plot or a drive to it, which I did find a little off-putting.

What I liked about it was the sense that the themes of the novel are visible from the corner the narrativ
Louise Armstrong
Aug 10, 2012 Louise Armstrong rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2015 Gloria rated it liked it
This story is of a young doctor, George Hardy, as told by the people around him. It is a love story, an historical novel of the Crimean War, a social comment novel, all related in a very reserved, matter-of-fact manner. It can be confusing as each part, or plate as Bainbridge calls it, is from the perspective of someone different, and you don't always clue in right away who it is. I found the Crimean War scenes to be quite vivid in their portrayal of the appalling conditions - certainly not the ...more
Caimh Mcdonnell
Jul 22, 2014 Caimh Mcdonnell rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the literary device of the three narrators and I found the early narrative compelling. I also liked the enigmatic nature of the central character, the idea that while each narrator can reveal their perspective and certain detail of him to us, we never feel we get to know him. In the same way that none of us can entirely know another person.
However, I didn't really get a sense of what the overall narrative was trying to achieve. The second half of the book became a bit of a slog. Certa
David Llewellyn
May 24, 2014 David Llewellyn rated it liked it
Looking through my reviews of other novels I discovered I rarely give a book three stars. I either enjoy a story - in which case it will be rated higher - or don't. (Like the majority of readers, in many cases where I'm not enjoying a book I simply won't have finished it in which case it will never be rated in the first place.)
Master Georgie is one of those curious exceptions, in my opinion, in that it was "okay". Apart from an enormous plot hole towards the beginning and a notable coincidence,
Feb 23, 2011 James rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, history
Odd pied piper of a man drags a circle of people through the crimean war. good but somehow did not engross.
May 06, 2014 Hannah rated it liked it
This 192 page historical fiction by Beryl Bainbridge, published by Da Capo Press in 1998, is called Master Georgie. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 1998.

The plot takes place during the Crimean War and follows differing characters through each chapter, leaving the reader to guess at who is narrating. Each successive chapter is a sort of snapshot of an event, based on the use of early camera work and developing photographs.

The story left me a little confused–why are these people in the Cr
Jun 16, 2013 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is more of a novella rather than a novel but that aside still manages to pack a punch.

The book is based around a Master George Moody a doctor and medical photographer and is told in 6 photographic plates by three very different characters, Myrtle the adopted orphan sister, Pompey Jones a street urchin turned photographer's assistant and George's brother-in-law Doctor Potter. Myrtle is the most devoted to Georgie despite him seemingly having no interest in women period, Pompey is more pragma
Sep 12, 2011 Angie rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much indeed. It is a tale of historical fiction, a series of tableaux or short narrations by 3 different characters, all of whom are drawn to, or love George Hardy, the Georgie of the title. Initially he is a medical student but later in the story is a practising doctor in makeshift hospitals on the battlegrounds of the Crimean War in 1853.

The first 2 narrations take place in and around Liverpool city centre and also Ince Blundell (very close to my childhood home). The s
Sean McLachlan
Aug 11, 2012 Sean McLachlan rated it really liked it
This is the first book of read by the famous Beryl Bainbridge. While I was impressed with this short historical novel, I did have some reservations and was somewhat surprised it was shortlisted for a Booker.

The story follows several people in the circle of the eponymous Master Georgie. Each gets to narrate for a short time and we learn the intricacies of this group of followers who adore the hero without really understanding him. Like many people who attract little coteries of admirers, Georgie
Jul 07, 2012 Sophia rated it liked it
Master Georgie is a historical novel set in the mid 19th century. The story has three narrators, each of whom are connected in some way with the eponymous George Hardy. Myrtle, his adopted sister and one of our narrators, calls him Master Georgie, and she is devoted to him from an early age, following him around like a shadow wherever he goes. Also taking up the tale is Dr Potter, a close family friend, and Pompey Jones, who we first meet as a young ragamuffin on the streets of Liverpool.

This is
Aug 16, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
High 4. Structured around a series of photographic tableau, this novel illustrates majestically Bainbridge's talents as reconstructionist of historical period and charcaterisation. The eponymous character is unveiled to us by a series of chapters narrated by those drawn to his orbit and each setting the scene for memorable photographic snapshots of key moments in the life of George Hardy. Surgeon and amateur photographer, George's love of adventure and scientific curiosity draw inexorably to him ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 08, 2007 Emma rated it liked it
This is not a long novel - more of a novella really - and I read it in four sittings in one day. It's an interesting portrait of a small set of dysfunctional individuals in a series of bizarre and unlikely relationships, who then depart England (for reasons made neither wholly clear nor particularly credible) for the Crimea where war is brewing. It is a tale of unrequited love, obsession, concealed homosexuality, many secrets and lies, hunger, need, war and of basic human instincts. I really str ...more
Mary Stephanos
Jun 04, 2011 Mary Stephanos rated it really liked it
A novella rather than a fully realized novel, Beryl Bainbridge's Booker-nominated Master Georgie tells the tale of George Hardy, a doctor and amateur photographer from Liverpool, and Myrtle, a young woman taken in by the Hardy family as a young girl. At the heart of this elliptical story--which unfolds in six chapters, each narrated by one of three characters: Myrtle, Dr. Potter (George's brother-in-law), and Pompey Jones (a photographer's assistant)--is a powerful meditation on the nature of de ...more
Jun 17, 2014 Annemariem rated it really liked it
The Hardy family is viewed through the eyes of three outsiders: the orphan girl they take in and who is obsessed by son George Hardy from the age of three, the doctor who marries daughter Beatrice Hardy and the duck-boy, who helps prevent a scandal when father Hardy dies in the arms of a prostitute. Against the backdrop of Victorian Liverpool and the Crimean war, relationships, obsessions and family secrets are gradually revealed and seen for what they are.
Incredible book. I loved it.
Dec 13, 2013 Telans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Великолепная написанная стилизация под викторианский роман - голосами нескольких человек (Миртл, девочки выросшей из милости при богатой семье и которая даже не знает даты своего рождения; "гусиного мальчишки" Помпи Джонса, что волей случая прибился к ней же и выживает как умеет; доктора Поттера, сначала семейного врача, а потом и зятя семейства Харди), смерти и войны рассказывается история о неком Мастере Джорджи, заурядном в принципе человеке своего времени (и положения в обществе). Полифония ...more
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Dame Beryl Margaret Bainbridge DBE was an English writer from Liverpool. She was primarily known for her works of psychological fiction, often set among the English working classes. Bainbridge won the Whitbread Award twice and was nominated for the Booker Prize five times. In 2008, The Times newspaper named Bainbridge among their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
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