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Master Georgie

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  1,510 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
Beryl Bainbridge seems drawn to disaster. First she tackled the Unfortunate Scott expedition to the South Pole in The Birthday Boys; later (but emphatically pre-DiCaprio) came the sinking of the Titanic, in Every Man for Himself. Now, in her third historical novel (and her 16th overall), she takes on the Crimean War, and the result is a slim, gripping volume with all of th ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 27th 1998 by Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (first published 1998)
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3 1/2? 3 3/4? Well ...

probably my final edit of this review ... see the end

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! (added 4/26/15)

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,
Jul 20, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Soumen Daschoudhury
George Hardy, rather Master George is an obsessed medical practitioner, a surgeon and an ardent photographer too. Shortly after his father’s untimely death, the whereabouts of which are to be kept a secret from the other members of his family, a choleric proliferation and the waging war against Russia sets Master George on a journey to offer his services to his countrymen, to the sufferers of war. Could he have possibly known that he was to turn into one, a sufferer and likewise, the ones around ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Huw Rhys
Aug 03, 2012 Huw Rhys rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 -
Jun 12, 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
Perry Whitford
Aug 16, 2016 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beryl Bainbridge was a subversive master of the slim yet astute novel. Master Georgie is very much in that vein, both funny and sad in an understated way.

The title character is a rich young Victorian-era doctor with a guilty conscience who attracts and fascinates three diverse individuals whose eyes we get to see him through, firstly in Liverpool and secondly in the Crimea.

Myrtle is a foundling who is obsessively in love with him and due to a set of unusual circumstances comes to masquerade as h
Nov 07, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last month the Guardian's monthly book club chose a Beryl Bainbridge novel. My interest piqued, I then saw Master Georgie in a second handbook shop and picked it up.

Fate and chance decide the course of the characters' lives. Myrtle was saved from the orphanage by an outbreak of smallpox and then not returned because of Beatrice's devotion to her. Georgie, Myrtle and Pompey Jones have the course of their lives altered by Georgie deciding to take a different route home one night.

The story is tol
Jan 22, 2012 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Dec 14, 2010 Barbara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.)
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.
Louise Armstrong
Dec 28, 2011 Louise Armstrong rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 22, 2011 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, history
Odd pied piper of a man drags a circle of people through the crimean war. good but somehow did not engross.
Dec 02, 2016 Katrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great read but is not good for bedtime reading as it requires concentration.
Naleendra Weerapitiya
"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
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)]

Jun 17, 2012 Sophia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sean McLachlan
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
Feb 25, 2010 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
May 08, 2007 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
I never read the cover of a book before I start it because I don't like anything to be given away, but maybe this is one case where I should have. I found the first two chapters wonderfully engrossing, but just didn't enjoy it once they went to war, and was disappointed to find that the tale never returned to England. Perhaps I wouldn't have approached it with such anticipation if I'd known, for example, that the book would be "Striking . . . in its companionable alliance between wry, deadpan hu ...more
Jan 10, 2016 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Davor K
Jan 21, 2012 Davor K rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Honestly, I was a bit confused at first trying to figure out which character narrates the story but once i caught the line (to tell the truth I had to reread a whole chapter with different character in mind).
But once I caught it, I was really taken in with the book.
It reads like a cross between a costume drama and mystery, you read the confessions of main actors in this bloody story of love in impossible conditions and the whole time you are trying to figure out what happened between them actua
Mar 05, 2008 minnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book tells the story of George Hardy a Liverpool surgeon, who goes to the Crimean war, followed by Myrtle his besotted adoptive sister, Dr. Potter his brother in law and Pompey Jones a street urchin turned photographer. The thing I found vague was why they went, the story is told from the point of view of Georges three companions, while he remains an enigmatic character. The grotesque horrors of war are described in Bainbridge’s beautiful prose and little scenes have stuck in my mind since ...more
Mark Kilmer
Jun 14, 2016 Mark Kilmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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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