Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Clothes They Stood Up In” as Want to Read:
The Clothes They Stood Up In
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Clothes They Stood Up In

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,901 Ratings  ·  266 Reviews
The Ransomes had been burgled. "Robbed," Mrs. Ransome said. "Burgled," Mr. Ransome corrected. Premises were burgled; persons were robbed. Mr. Ransome was a solicitor by profession and thought words mattered. Though "burgled" was the wrong word too. Burglars select; they pick; they remove one item and ignore others. There is a limit to what burglars can take: they seldom ta ...more
Hardcover, 174 pages
Published February 6th 2001 by Random House (first published July 6th 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Clothes They Stood Up In, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Clothes They Stood Up In

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. SeussLittle Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart HymanThe Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian AndersenFox in Socks by Dr. SeussThe 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss
Inside Your Wardrobe
68th out of 215 books — 69 voters
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Subtle Knife by Philip PullmanElla Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared DiamondA Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Best Books of 1997
75th out of 242 books — 132 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 19, 2016 ❀Julie rated it it was amazing
Had I not seen a friend add this recently I might have missed this little gem! Something about the cover and title drew me in, but when I saw its cute, compact size I couldn’t resist. This author is so funny. Some parts I found downright hysterical, but the humor is so dry you could almost miss it. And the characters, namely Mrs. Ransome, were a hoot. An English couple goes out to an opera one evening and comes home to find they’ve been completely stripped of their belongings. Everything! As the ...more
Jan 20, 2008 Trevor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature, humour

I’m fascinated by all of the deceit and lies that long-term relationships often accumulate around them. Not the big lies – You know, 'I’ve been having an affair for twenty years, darling' – but the little things that hardly matter, but we still try to keep hidden anyway. I’m also fascinated when both people know the other knows, but go on with the game anyway. Perhaps some relationships end because there are not enough 'little lies'. Hard to tell.

So, there was little question I would like this.
February 2012

In this tiny, tiny book, Mr. and Mrs. Ransome return from the opera to find they've been...robbed? Burgled? Sacked and pillaged is more like it, since the burglars (thieves? Viking raiders, perhaps?) took everything--furniture, clothing, jewelry, even (as Mr. Ransome learns a bit loo late) the toilet paper. Everything is insured, of course, and replacing their belongings won't be too much trouble. But the Ransomes soon discover that replacing everything isn't as easy as losing it al
May 11, 2013 Diane rated it really liked it
Shelves: british-charm
I picked this book up because I loved Alan Bennett's book "The Uncommon Reader." This is a charming British novella involving a bizarre robbery and a befuddled middle-aged English couple. It doesn't have the payoff that Uncommon Reader does, but it's still a pleasant read.
Mar 29, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, 2016
A delightful novella that I listened to - read by the author which doesn't always mean it will be good but in this case it was perfect. There is a lot packed into this tiny book. I laughed out loud several times (I am a sucker for the scatological…I have the sense of humor of a 13 year old boy) and yet, the story also made me think about bigger things. How easy it is to get into a rut and not even see it, how quickly your possessions become your life if you let them. What would you do if you did ...more
Una sghignazzata alle spalle della decenza. Un gioiellino.
Jan 04, 2011 Alan rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels, read-in-2011
A Christmas read, in one day. In fact I was listening to Bennett earlier in the day on Radio4 as I ironed (The Lady in the Van). He is a delightful writer, charming, funny and every word counts. Here a middle aged, middle class couple come back from the opera to find everything in their house gone. Not a normal burglary - even the toilet roll holder has been taken. Of course this sets off a chain of events that peels back the layers of the couple's marriage. I was captivated mostly all through, ...more
Oct 03, 2008 Christina rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2008, library
We gain a lot of our identity from the things we surround us with, especially the things in our homes. If suddenly all our possessions are taken from us, what then?
This is what happens to the Ransoms, a middleage couple, who when arriving home from the opera discover that all they have is the clothes they wore that night - everything in their appartment is gone.
Mrs. Ransom comes to view this as a chance for a new beginning - she starts to feel that all the old stuff was holding her back. Mr. Ran
Elizabeth A
Feb 24, 2015 Elizabeth A rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Book blurb: When the sedate Ransomes return from the opera to find their Notting Hill flat stripped absolutely bare—down to the toilet paper off the roll, they face a dilemma: Who are they without the things they've spent a lifetime accumulating? Suddenly the world is full of unlimited and frightening possibility.

The physical book is a delight to hold - so tiny that it could fit into your pocket - it reminded me of books for little hands. It is hard not to be drawn in by the premise of this stor
Martyn Stanley
Jun 05, 2014 Martyn Stanley rated it really liked it
It's a 4.5 really. Bennett writes wonderful, interesting characters. They are strange, almost caricature-like people. I can't describe, them perhaps a distilled middle-class, childless couple in their fifties. Mr and Mrs Ransome are the sort of people who have net curtains and lace table-cloths.

The basic premise and main plot device of this book is fascinating to behold. If YOU arrived home one day to find your home completely emptied, down to the bare floor boards - how would you cope? How wou
Jan 17, 2016 Storyheart rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Mr. and Mrs. Ransome arrive home from the opera to find that everything they own, aside from the clothes on their back, has been stolen. While Mr. Ransome is irritated and angry, Mrs. Ransome reacts unexpectedly.

"To have the carpet almost literally pulled from under her should, she felt, induce salutary thoughts about the way she had lived her was up to her to make of it what she could. She would go to museums, she thought, art galleries, learn about the history of London; t
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Mr. and Mrs. Ransome have been robbed, no burgled, robbed happens to a person, burgled to a premise. Of course this couldn't have been normal thieves, because they took everything. Stove with dinner in it, to toilet paper. Nothing is left and the Ransome's do not know what to do. They spent their life accumulating stuff that never was really enjoyed or served much purpose, except for Mr. Ransome's music equipment that he used to listen to Mozart, which his wife wasn't privy to due to the large h ...more
Dec 19, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
I picked up this book at the library based in it's diminutive size & the cover art. I wanted a quick, funny read & it served that purpose. But it was also more. It was clever, insightful, & very readable at the same time. Having never read Alan Bennett, I'm so glad I picked up another of his ("The Uncommon Reader") at the same time.
Mar 09, 2014 Cassandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ein ganz normales Ehepaar wird ausgeraubt. Alles ist weg, sogar das Toilettenpapier. Wie geht man mit dem Verlust der Vergangenheit und aller gewohnten Gegenstände um?
Von der geringen Seitenzahl sollte man sich nicht täuschen lassen, vor dem Leser wird eine interessante Story ausgerollt. Brillant und mit spitzer Feder lässt der Autor den pedantischen Mr. Ransome und seine stille Gattin Mrs. Ransome, mit ihren kleinen und großen Geheimnissen zum Leben erwachen. So grotesk das Ganze im ersten Mome
Oct 27, 2014 Tintaglia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Deliziosa commedia di costume, anche se un po' anticlimatica, meravigliosamente letta da una Paola Cortellesi che si conferma stupenda interprete comica, e la migliore lettrice di audiobook che abbia incontrato finora.
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
Troppo inglese!!

ma nel senso buono, esilarante come pochi
e composto come solo gli inglesi, quando ci si mettono, sanno essere...
Jun 01, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Bennett book that I have actually read rather than listened to and this little novella is a charming little read.

The Ransomes are a middle-aged friendless, childless couple who have settled into a rather dull routine who are unable to even communicate which one another. The Ransome's return from a night at the opera to find that they have been 'burgled. Robbed.' by very thorough thieves who stole absolutely everything in their flat down to floorboards, even cutting the telephon
Aug 10, 2016 Elizabeth rated it liked it
An intriguing short story about a couple (Mr. and Mrs. Ransome) who are robbed of all of their material goods. The mystery is discovering who did it and why. The focus shifts to Mrs. Ransome as the robbery ends up being a growth experience for her. She discovers that she enjoys more of the BASIC things in life. The solving of the mystery also changes her. At the end of the book, after many new experiences and changing her perspective, she is prepared for yet another twist in the plot. Very diffe ...more
Yves Gounin
Alan Bennett nous avait réjoui avec "La Reine des lectrices" une sotie dont l'héroïne n'était autre qu'Elisabeth II. Du coup, fort de ce succès mérité, Folio sort l'un de ses anciens romans.
Les époux Ransome sont de vieux conservateurs de la middle class londonienne. Un soir, en rentrant du concert, ils trouvent leur appartement cambriolé. Les achats auxquels ils doivent procéder vont les obliger à dépoussiérer leur quotidien. Lui, confit dans ses habitudes, ne l'acceptera pas ; elle au contrai
May 27, 2016 Sterlingcindysu rated it liked it
3.5 rounded down, mostly because it was SO tiny! Pleasant story. I don't think I'll ever drive into an office park again with thinking of Mrs. Ransom's description of one!

Moral of this "fable"--there's no secrets in a marriage, at least not from the wife's point of view.
Jan 09, 2011 Adam rated it it was ok
This novella starts strong; it has the promise of a very charming, puzzling, witty story. But it seems to me the book ends with a plot development that John Gardner would have identified as an instance of "frigidity." Bennett--seemingly on a whim--condemns one member of the marriage to a pathetic, humiliating fate from which there is no escape. Gardner had this to say about authorial frigidity: "[it] occurs in fiction whenever the author reveals by some slip or self-regarding intrusion that he i ...more
Apr 10, 2016 Lauren rated it liked it
Quirky story about a couple who return from the opera to find themselves completely wiped out. The thieves even took the toilet paper.
Sep 18, 2014 TK421 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
Every married couple should read this little novella. Moving and poignant and strong in message, this graceful bit of storytelling is both heartbreaking and invigorating while speckled with some truly humorous moments. Brilliant, just brilliant.
Jun 16, 2015 Roberta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk
Un capolavoro di comicità, un romanzo esilarante che racconta la storia di una coppia dalla vita spenta che si ritrova la casa svaligiata fin nei minimi particolari.

‘I take it you’ll want counselling,’ said the constable.


‘Someone comes along and holds your hand,’ said the sergeant, looking at the window. ‘Partridge thinks it’s important.’

‘We’re all human,’ said the constable.

‘I’m a solicitor,’ said Mr Ransome.

‘Well,’ said the sergeant, ‘Perhaps your missus could give it a try. We like to
Jun 24, 2016 Realini rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, theater, delightful
The Clothes They Stood Up In by Alan Bennett
I loved many parts of the play, with the caveat that part of the plot was not right up my alley, including the premise that toilet paper is taken away, an absurd occurrence with a sense that becomes apparent only somewhat late in my view.

There are passages that are delightful, humorous and witty.
But part of the plot disagrees with me.
The solution then is to concentrate on the good aspects and forget the rest, which might even be good enough.

- Be a meri
Julie Davis
Jun 09, 2016 Julie Davis rated it liked it
I received this by accident, having requested The Lady in the Van after seeing the movie. It is often paired with this story and I suppose that whoever plucked it off the shelf for me at the main library just saw the first title and sent it.

There is a certain irony in having a book you didn't want dropped in your lap when the book itself is about a couple who come home from the opera and find everything they own is gone. So I read it.

When I say everything is stolen, I mean everything. The toilet
Julie lit pour les autres
Lu en français : La mise à nu des époux Ransome.

Un tout petit roman, plus satirique qu'il n'y paraît initialement. M. et Mme Ransome sont un couple anglais, classe moyenne, âge moyen. La vie s'écoule doucement et ils en semblent (moyennement) satisfaits. En revenant d'un concert, ils doivent gérer un événement complètement absurde: on a cambriolé leur appartement. Les voleurs sont partis avec tout: meubles, livres, plinthes électriques....interrupteurs! Voilà la mise à nu. Alors que M. Ransome s
Kimberly Ann
Jan 27, 2016 Kimberly Ann rated it liked it

Well this was an interesting book and an interesting perspective of looking at a stodgy life with the opportunity to break out into fullness.

Mr. & Mrs Ransome go out for an evening of Opera and upon returning to their home find that they have been burgled..... Their home is completely empty, not even a box of tissue remains...... Thus begins Mrs Ransome's awakening to life.... She begins venturing out to the local grocer & shops to purchase food and basic household items... She even pur
Deborah Markus
May 25, 2012 Deborah Markus rated it it was amazing
Loved "Smut" so much, grabbed this from the library to read next. Short novels suit my currently short attention span.

Finished reading this in a day I didn't have much time to read, so there you go. There's no one like Alan Bennett. I wish he weren't so successful as a playwright, so he'd be forced to write lots more lovely, occasionally naughty novellas like this one. Also, it's lovely to read a male author who apparently has lots of tender, humorous sympathy for middle-aged women.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Italia: Nudi e crudi in scena 2 40 Mar 13, 2016 06:35AM  
What's The Name o...: British comedy about couple robbed while away [s] 3 45 Jul 27, 2012 07:50PM  
  • Il diario intimo di Sally Mara
  • Le irregolari: Buenos Aires Horror Tour
  • Tutti giù per terra
  • Branchie
  • Pappagalli verdi: cronache di un chirurgo di guerra
  • La briscola in cinque
  • The Evolution Man: Or, How I Ate My Father
  • Hanno tutti ragione
  • I milanesi ammazzano al sabato (Duca Lamberti, #4)
  • Aforismi
  • La collega tatuata
  • The Signalman & Other Ghost Stories
  • L'elenco telefonico di Atlantide
  • Romanzo criminale
  • Il libraio che imbrogliò l'Inghilterra
  • The Late Romances: Pericles; Cymbeline; The Winter's Tale; The Tempest (Bantam Classics)
  • Doting
  • Παλιά, πολύ παλιά (Κώστας Χαρίτος, #5)
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
More about Alan Bennett...

Share This Book