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The Clothes They Stood Up In

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  1,494 ratings  ·  230 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)
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Community Reviews

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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

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.
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
Una sghignazzata alle spalle della decenza. Un gioiellino.
Martyn Stanley
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
Elizabeth A
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
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
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
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
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...
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
Deborah Markus
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.
Paolo D'Amelio
Cosa fareste se al ritorno da una tranquilla serata all’Opera trovaste la vostra casa completamente svaligiata ? Di sicuro l’esperienza è di quelle che cambiano la vita e pongono di fronte ad un bivio: ricostruire la propria esistenza quotidiana ricalcando il passato sul filo del ricordo e del rimpianto o ricominciare da zero? Sul filo di queste domande l’ironia di Bennett procede, scardinando e svuotando come i misteriosi ladri del racconto, le vite borghesi dei coniugi Ransome fino a ridurle a ...more
THE CLOTHES THEY STOOD UP IN. (1996). Alan Bennett. ****.
First read about fifteen years ago, the repeat was well worth it. We meet Mr. & Mrs. Ransome, a mature married couple who have a flat in Regent’s Park. They are both devoted to the music of Mozart, and were attending a performance of “Cosi fan Tutti,” when they returned home to find that everything in their apartment was gone. I mean everything – down to the roll of toilet paper and the roller it was on. The discovery of that loss came
Secondo tentativo con Bennett... e anche ultimo per quanto mi riguarda. Se La sovrana lettrice qualche sorriso me l'aveva strappato, questo mi ha solo annoiata. C'è stato un piccolo guizzo quando Mrs. Ransome tenta di trasformare la sua vita dopo il furto, ma che si è spento dopo poche pagine. I casi sono due: o Alan Bennett è decisamente sopravvalutato oppure a me manca un tot di neuroni per apprezzare il british humor.
A starred book on my reading list, this was a disappointment. Bennett begins with a couple returning home to discover their apartment totally stripped; ALL their possessions are gone. It's a promising premise for our materialistic culture, but for Bennett it's only the stage for a modest domestic drama, nothing more, & the conclusion further undermines whatever power the premise could have invoked.
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one of the most charming books i have read. its also the smallest (both in size and length)! the story revolves around a middle-aged couple, whose apartment is robbed by some particularly thorough thieves. Bennett deftly uses a few character quirks in describing the Ransomes, making them incredibly and painfully human. as for the events after the theft...suffice to say that they are very surprising.
Massimiliano Laviola
Alan Bennett ha la straordinaria capacità di trasmettere l'intera gamma delle emozioni con libri brevi. Qui una coppia di anziani coniugi, con una vita a dir poco monotona, si ritrova con l'appartamento completamente svaligiato (anche la moquette e la carta igienica). Un evento che li porterà ad una riflessione profonda del loro rapporto come se la loro vita fosse resettata. Bel libro, intenso
Breve (è più un racconto che un libro vero e proprio), dissacrante e sarcastico come solo il prodotto dello humor britannico può essere. Si osserva, coinvolti ma non troppo, le disavventure dei protagonisti, parteggiando inevitabilmente per la pacata Mrs Ransome. Il risveglio lento ma inesorabile dal torpore borghese, l'essere costretti a rivedere completamente le proprie certezze per colpa di un beffardo errore del destino e la tranquillità con cui si scopre e si digerisce il perché ci si è rit ...more
E se, tornando da una serata a teatro, vi trovate la casa completamente svaligiata? Sarebbe un nuovo inizio come per Mrs Ransome o come Mr Ransome continuerete a vivere nel vostro guscio?
Uno spunto interessante, sviluppato con ironia inglese, ma calante verso il finale.
aprire gli occhi e dispiegare i sensi solo ad un punto inoltrato della propria vita e iniziare infine a vedere e sentire, avere la consapevolezza di non poter più recuperare il tempo perduto, deve essere agghiacciante, quasi da desiderare di poter tornare ad essere cieco...
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.
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What's The Name o...: British comedy about couple robbed while away [s] 3 44 Jul 27, 2012 07:50PM  
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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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