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The Master Bedroom: A Novel
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The Master Bedroom: A Novel

3.0 of 5 stars 3.00  ·  rating details  ·  353 ratings  ·  73 reviews
After more than twenty years in London, Kate Flynn hasabandoned her career as an academic, rented her apartment in the city, and moved back to live with her mother in the grand old house beside a lake where she grew up. Bored and lonely, Kate meets a childhood friend, David Roberts, at the opera. David is married, but Kate finds herself falling for him against her better j ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Picador (first published July 24th 2007)
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i started the master bedroom, hesitantly b/c i'd read other not so great reviews on a few other book sites, but i really really enjoyed it. the characters, while not exactly likable, were fascinating and real. the dialogue was snappy (i thought the lack of quotes would bother me but it didn't). i was prepared to dislike kate, who was entirely self centered and vain, yet she grew on me. i really enjoyed ms. hadley's writing, she envoked a sense of place very well. even tho some of the characters ...more
flawed and introspective -- that's how I like the characters in a novel that I read sitting on the couch, too full of Thanksgiving dinner, to be. Yum.
What you think you want turns out to be just as undesirable as what you had. And getting what you think you want only leads to regret. Enough said.
From the reviews here, this book is clearly not for everyone. While Kate finds herself attracted to a son and father, there are no racy sex scenes. The attraction to a father and his son seems to be a mild taboo for some readers - or something they are not looking for in their fiction reading. I found the book to be a strong look at a woman who isn't thinking and the situations that come from not thinking. As others have noted, the quality of writing is strong. I was curious how the book would r ...more
Well, this was a total waste of a Borders 30% off coupon. It's a high-brow, "literary" novel about a woman torn between having an affair with a married doctor or his 18-year-old son. What a dilemma! The heroine is so annoying that I kept hoping the other woman/mother would burst in and bean her with a frying pan, or whatever betrayed British houseives use on this occasions.

Also, the author doesn't use quotation marks.

-- Oh, darling, this is a terrible idea.
-- But don't you see, we cannot fight t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa Mettauer
As I’ve been thinking on what to say here about The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley, everything I come up with makes the book seem less than appealing. But I really liked this book.

The main character, 40-something Kate Flynn, quits her college teaching job in London to go to Cardiff, Wales, to care for her aging and close-to-senile mom, Billie. She’s kind of mean to her. Though with Billie almost all the time, Kate bosses her around and is always trying to make her leave the room. Then, after sh
Beth Bonini
I borrowed this book off of a communal shelf at Jane Austen's House -- and I didn't recognize the author, or expect much from it. It was one of those books, though, that proved to be a really absorbing read.
The protagonist is a 43 year old woman (as am I), and I'm aware of being drawn to stories who feature someone like me -- a trait of children's reading, really. Anyway, I read this fact on the blurb on the back of the book -- and that's what made me pick out the book.

In this case, the protagon
Oct 09, 2009 Karen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: arc
I received this novel as part of Library Thing's Early Reviewers program and truthfully would have given up on it about halfway through if I'd just been reading it for myself. At first, I found it quite engaging -- witty, well-written dialogue and Kate, a main character whose eccentricities I thought would be entertaining throughout. But as I got further in, the plot seemed stagnant and I realized there wasn't much to like to about Kate or any of the other characters.[return][return]Another revi ...more
okay, so i finally finished reading this one: The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley, after i-don't-know-how-long, it seems i might have given up reading (for a nonce, anyway)~every time i pick up a book i can only read a page or two, which really sucks, because i have all of this idle time on my hands~not sleeping, and all~and with a semi-constant headache/migraine that cannot bear movement, or much light, or much sound~so household maintenance is definitely out of the question (oh so very sad, isn ...more
Sherry Bryan
Not a bad book, but ultimately disappointing. There are some good aspects to this book, the author has an effective and lyrical style, but overall I walked away feeling let down. The gravitas of certain plot points seemed an afterthought. It's missing a little something...heart? I found the protagonist very dismissive and unlikeable most of the time.
Sara Habein
The trouble with The Master Bedroom is that while I found sentence after paragraph after page that made me want to start writing something new, I still found Kate rather unlikeable. She didn’t grow to any significant degree. She potters around her life, straining to feel like “herself,” though I was never quite sure who that was. Though she’s willing to vaguely complain to her friends, she expects her romantic interests to read her mind. She can’t be bothered to take charge, despite her feelings ...more
this was a random grab from the stacks (i'm unreasonably attracted to pink books.) i very much enjoyed the writing style and rich, flawed, full-of-life characters. but i'm deducting a star because i was just so annoyed by (view spoiler)
Mmm. I read this. I remember the main character, Kate. But the novel didn't stick in my brain - the internal lives of the characters were unaccessible, so I was left with the impression of watching their movements at a great distance - like watching modern dance nearsighted without one's glasses from the cheap seats in the balcony far, far from the stage. It's breezy, which made it a fun read in the moment but perhaps with a little ADD toss of the head at the end. You know, like -- "hey, now wha ...more
Kate Flynn returnes to Cardiff from London to take care of her aging mother in her parental home. Of course not everyone has left Cardiff from her childhood, and she has contact with her old friends, Carol and David, and a teen-age son of David's. Their lives get more entangled throughout the story, but the author never loses her focus.
Myer Kutz
I'm always on the lookout for contemporary British novelists who write for mature audiences. I read a New Yorker story (a good place to get introduced to a new writer) by Tessa Hadley and liked it well enough to give one of her novels a shot. I read The Master Bedroom in a couple of sittings. The prose is straightforward; Hadley never strains for effect. She does use an odd method of punctuating quotes, which breaks down now and then, but I got used to it. The characters are completely drawn, th ...more
Dave Comerford
I stumbled across a strong short story by Tessa Hadley on the radio and wanted more of the same. The only trace of Tessa in my local library is this book, and I initially dismissed it on the basis of its cover art and title. It took me 5 seconds to realize that I was judging a book by its proverbial, and that thought sufficed to trigger an about-turn. I am not unhappy I pursued it. I found the lives depicted in the book believable and their struggles compelling. I looked forward to reading it at ...more
Though I loved the characters in this book, so beautifully flawed, complicated, and raw... I was unsatisfied with the ending. Not wishing for a happy one, certainly but something more to go on. This reminded me of a movie that the director didn't know how to "end".
The protagonist, Kate, though masked in wit, is predictably self-involved to the point that her actions yield no surprise for the reader. The Master Bedroom is exactly the kind of story you expect it to be, which is rather disappointing.
Even when she was a teenager she'd always known that this thing, this falling into a new obsession, was something you did to yourself. You chose to abandon yourself to it. Always, given that choice, Kate had gone in deeper and deeper still, as if the disorder were life itself.

* * *
I liked the way this started off but then it developed in a predictably self-destructive way, and while I was engrossed enough to read until I finished I decided I didn't like it very much.

The heroine has a tuft of wh
Probably merits 3.5 stars. Enjoyable, very well-written but did not really fulfill it's description (title and 'sexy read') which is less Tessa Hadley's fault and more the publishers. I found myself skipping the descriptions in order to get on with the story, which was thinner, and less believable than it ought to have been. And I remembered how I had luxuriated in the descriptive passages written by William McIlvannay, read them over just for the pleasure ... It probably merits a re-read some t ...more
Tried, but just couldn't get into this one. The dialog was weird, and I got tired of waiting for something to happen.
I definitely had to push myself to finish this book. I'm not sure why I did. The main character, Kate, returns to her childhood home to care for her aging mother, leaving behind her career and life in London. From the beginning, Kate is self-absorbed, caustic and generally unlikeable. Somehow these qualities attract her best friend's brother and his son. Her sexual relationship with the under-age son is odd (and illegal in the U.S.). The ending was quite surprising to me; at long last, her arrog ...more
I love Tessa Hadley's short stories -- I think that's really her strength. They remind me a bit of Alice Munro, which about as high a compliment as I can give to short stories. This is the second novel of hers I've read, and I did enjoy it. I think I can safely call it smartly written British chick lit. Shades of A.S. Byatt, which is also a huge compliment coming from me. I think I liked The London Train better, but this was fun, and I'd happily read anything she wrote.
I picked this up without reading the back - mistake - from the library in a mad haste before y't - well. THe smutty premise basically says it all - woman falls in love with a married man and, simultaneously his teenaged son. Eeeeep. Anyway the writing wasn't half bad but the premise, if you can believe this, wasn't enough to sustain the book (ie some character development and actual grappling with conflict might have helped) and I don't think Hadley thought beyond the smut factor.
It took some time for me to get interested in the book but it could be because I listened to the audiobook and was actually getting used to the reader rather than the story. There is some witty and entertaining dialogue and some interesting relationships but overall it seemed to me that the story lacked a good introduction and a good ending. I felt like I came in in the middle of the story and left before it ended; but, I was entertained while I was there.
Sep 02, 2008 Sabrina rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: I would not
Shelves: chick-lit one word, disappointing.
I was expecting something more salacious. Don't let the cover fool you, as it did me.
I read this on a plane and it was more entertaining than the snoring man next to me and less annoying than the children in front of me. Perhaps I should have contacted those behind me for a more pleasurable use of my time...or I guess I could have slept too, that would have been better.
Really liked it - she's an observant and sensitive writer, and the story was exquisitely detailed and while written about something familiar - a successful child coming home to look after an ageing parent - it never lapsed into cliches or standard storylines, it was surprising, fresh and original. And I loved that it was set in Wales, a place that I love and spend quite a bit of time in.
Emi Bevacqua
The whole time I was reading this I was thinking it would be so much better if Hadley had emphasized local language; as it was you really couldn't even tell it took place in the UK much less Cardiff. The quirky main character Kate is endearing and I was rooting for her, and even got a tiny kick out of the very ending, but overall I just didn't care that much for/about the story.
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Tessa Hadley is the author of Sunstroke and Other Stories, and the novels The Master Bedroom, Everything Will Be All Right, and Accidents in the Home. She lives in Cardiff, Wales, and teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University.
More about Tessa Hadley...
The London Train Clever Girl Married Love and Other Stories Sunstroke and Other Stories Accidents in the Home

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