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3.33  ·  Rating details ·  508 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Edwin Fisher is on holiday at the English seaside - but this revisiting of childhood haunts is no ordinary holiday. Edwin is seeking to understand the failure of his marriage to Meg, but it turns out that her parents are staying at the same resort - whether by accident or design - and are keen to patch up the relationship. As the past and his enigmatic wife loom larger, de ...more
Paperback, 239 pages
Published August 1st 1999 by Five Leaves Publications (first published January 1st 1974)
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Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
The title is misleading. I expected fun and frolic, and languid beach conversation. Instead I got exposed to the darker side of marriage, which lurks in all marriages, happy or otherwise. Fisher has come to the tiny beachside town leaving his hysterical wife behind, when he feels that he can no more tolerate their quarrels, verbal as well as physical. Meg was never an easy go lucky woman to live with, but the death of their young son affected their relationship very adversely.
While in vacation,
Courtney H.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookers
So, it cannot be easy to share the Booker with Nadine Gordimer, and it is perhaps that misfortune that has caused Holiday to fall into some obscurity. It is a quiet book (not that The Conservationist is loud), and has an entirely narrow focus: the inner workings of a single man’s mind, on holiday in the English seaside, as he tries to sort out why his marriage failed. He meets fellow holiday-goers, deals with the machinations of his ex-in-laws who are trying to force a truce (and piece the marr ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Girish by: Smitha
Shelves: booker
Holiday is one of those subtle books where nothing much really seems to happen but deceptively filled with insights. At a gentle pace, we are taking a holiday with Edwin Fisher, an ordinary lecturer, delaying the possible split from his hysterical wife. So he meets with strangers, enjoys the temporary bonds and reminisces back on his love and marriage to make sense of his present situation. To compound to the situation, he runs into his in-laws who are trying to reconcile the couple.

Paul Blakemore
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Plain, serious and precise. There's nothing gimmicky or trivial about this book; it's just beautifully written and finely observed. I really loved it.
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I'd really looked forward to this, as it was an article in the Guardian earlier this year, on the book's release in paperback, that I first became aware of Middleton's work. Surprisingly I couldn't get this book in either library I use, but they did have some other novels of his, which I thought were terrific. Though this has its moments, I never felt very connected to it. I found the character of the wife, Meg, very sketchily developed and quite irritating - whereas in other books I'd thought M ...more
Dec 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I have been watching Mad Men a lot recently (no spoilers, I promise) but with the recollections that our main character (Edwin Fisher) has about his marriage, I can't help picture Don Draper and Megan. It has something to do with their fights and their passion.... Now, Edwin is not nearly as attractive as Don Draper, but it's just something about the relationship that reminds me of them.

This book is just so.... English. Stiff upper lip all the way. Even when married women are letting divorced me
Flyss Williams
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
On the surface it would seem that very little happens in this novel a young man estranged from his wife goes on holiday, thinks about his family his father and his wife. However its so much more than that it, it's rich with memory, feeling and beautifully captures how it feels to be lost from someone confused by their rages, but still wanting to be in their presence.
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only bought this book because VS Naipaul praised Stanley Middleton's ability to write good dialogue. Holiday is about a middle class teacher Edwin Fisher who goes on a holiday to Bealthorpe, an English seaside resort to get over a possible separation from his wife. At the resort, he reminisces about his childhood, his romance before marriage and his marriage which includes the death of his son. Fisher also runs into his wife's parents who try to reconcile him with his wife. It is one of those ...more
Rick Patterson
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a deceptively simple little read. The premise seems to be bland: Edwin Fisher, instructor in educational philosophy for the UK Department of Education, has left his wife, Meg, because of domestic differences and has taken a week off at Bealthorpe, a seaside resort town (that may be an alias for Bournemouth) where he tries to put his head back together about whether or not he wants to stay married. While there, he happens to meet his father-in-law, David Vernon, a solicitor who practises ...more
Feb 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
[rating = C-]
I was actually thinking this was going to be a really good book. But. It was well written and dull as dishwater. Nothing really new (ideas/theories) came from this Man Booker Prize-winning novel. I mean, the story is about a man who has temporarily left his wife, but it seems to deliver the same-old same-old kind of revelations. I will say, though, that Middleton does achieve a phrase or two that excite and give a pretty picture to the scene. However, he is not the philosophical art
Mary Lou
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fisher takes a week's holiday in the same English seaside town he went to as a child. Recalling with embarrassment the way his father used to interact with his fellow boarding house guests, he is surprised to find himself acting in much the same way.
An acutely drawn picture of life in the early 70s, things get much darker as Fisher mulls over whether or not to return to the unusal marriage he has recently walked away from.
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the prosaic and downbeat subject matter (man goes on holiday to Lincolnshire seaside town and considers whether to attempt to save his failing marriage) this book was surprisingly perceptive and moving, and I can understand why it won the Booker prize. Full of sharp observation, wry humour and humanity.
Elizabeth Kelly
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
An interesting look at marriage. Even though this is set over 30 years ago it still seems relatively accurate to todays society.
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edwin Fisher takes a holiday to a seaside resort following his divorce, only to find his ex-wife's parents staying there also. A subtle and engaging book.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Wakacje" to tydzień z życia trzydziestokilkuletniego mężczyzny, który po utracie syna i rozpadzie małżeństwa postanowił wyjechać do nadmorskiego miasteczka, w którym spędzał w dzieciństwie wakacje z rodzicami. Poprzez strumień świadomości głównego bohatera Edwina Fishera, który analizuje swój związek, relacje z rodzicami, społeczeństwo angielskie niższych i wyższych sfer, otrzymujemy złożony obraz jego życia plus interesujące tło społeczne. W tej książce niewiele się dzieje. Narracja biegnie po ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This is one of those award-winning novels that, despite its stellar technical quality, left me bored. A young man, recently separated from his 6 year marriage, spends a week’s vacation at the shore. There he recalls childhood holidays, flirts with other vacationers and contemplates his complicated relationship with his wife. I never connected with this young man, understood the motivations of the central characters, made sense of all the sexual tension among the vacationers or cared about their ...more
Alex Rendall
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: booker-prize
Stanley Middleton was jointly awarded the Booker Prize in 1974 with Nadine Gordimer. Middleton’s Holiday is, on the face of it, a novel about a man who goes to a British seaside town for a week-long holiday. In reality, education lecturer Edwin Fisher is escaping from the death of his son and his crumbling marriage to grieving, volatile Meg. Through a series of flashbacks, prompted by events during his holiday, the reader sees how Edwin first met Meg, their courtship and eventual marriage, the b ...more
David James
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Stanley Middleton, Holiday

‘Fifty years hence, someone will pull me out of his head. I am not displeased.’ Thus Stanley Middleton in his poem recalling names from the past. Author of over 40 novels, joint winner of the Booker Prize in 1975, Middleton refused an honour from the Wilson government, and published Holiday to refute Auberon Waugh’s dictum that flashbacks were the death of any good novel. In fact flashback is here an inherent part of the structure of Holiday, whose hero, Edwin Fisher du
Gibin Mathew
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Boring !! Boring !!

The entire read is slow and dragging. The writing style is plain with transitions(Fisher’s thoughts/memories) in between them seems unfit and unrecognisable which is confusing and breaking the natural flow. Sometimes we won’t understand that ,Fisher is describing his thoughts.

The story is about a married man who is going through his mid life family crisis and how he overcome it. I really hated the way it ended(A divorce would he been a happy ending). I don’t know how a husband
Sally Flint
May 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
What a relief to finish this book and feel like my reading time is my own again (silly man booker challenge!) I only started to enjoy this in the last two chapters which is too late! A thirty something man, leaves his wife and goes on holiday to a seaside town evoking memories of his father of his overbearing shopkeeper father. He spends the week, exploring his relationships with other people in the bed and breakfast in which he stays, has a series of mild flirtations and reflects on the various ...more
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
In 1974 the Booker Prize was shared between Nadine Gordimer for The Conservationist (still on my tbr after several years) and Stanley Middleton for Holiday.

Having recently separated from his wife Meg, school master Edwin Fisher decides to spend a week in an English seaside holiday resort. Bealthorp is a place Edwin knows well, a place he holidayed with his parents when he was a child. Now, in his thirties, his marriage in trouble, following the devastating loss of their son, Fisher has a lot to
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a disquieting and subtly delivered story. We spend a week in a seaside holiday resort with Edwin Fisher as he tries to make sense of his marriage. He has separated from his wife and, as the week passes, we are party to his memories of his marriage, his family, and his wider approach to life. At times hard to hold on to, his reality shifts with each day, made more complex by the arrival of his wife's parents, as they try to heal the marriage. He is both passionate and detached, hurt and b ...more
Dec 28, 2013 rated it liked it
***spoiler alert***

I neither loved not hated this book, more I just felt it missed the opportunity to be... more. More passionate, more angsty, more angry at life's injustices. edwin Fisher has a choice to make, but its almost like he falls into it. he neither jumps at the chance to get back with Meg, nor feels dragged back into the relationship. it just all seemed a bit 'meh', which is a shame because I had warmed to him and the depiction of a different of-the-time Britain. I wanted something m
Mary Crawford
Sep 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a slow book for me. I found the detailed writing really good and it reminded me of holidays in boarding houses in the early seventies. The descriptions of the social interactions along with Fisher's (the main character) internal thought processes were captivating but I didn't really care what happened by the end of the book.
Alexandra Popovic
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookers
Very boring. Yet another nail in the coffin that holds my faith in the Man Booker Prize. There's very little change in scenery, and I don't know if it was just my copy or not, but there were tons of typos and grammatical errors - some sentences were almost unreadable. I only gave it 2 stars because I appreciated his character development, and some of the flashbacks were nicely done.
Dec 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Many of the descriptions of people by the seaside in the 70s struck a chord, but the main character didn't really do the same. He struck me as a spineless drifter. Couldn't really see how the novel won the Booker!
Dec 15, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
1974 booker prize
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: booker-winners
All I can think is there must have been a better choice for the Booker in 1974.
Cary O'Donnell
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Odd writing style: lots of slow, detailed dialogue juxtaposed to plot outline. Think episodes of Coronation Street interspersed with drafts for a creative writing plot.
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Literary Award Wi...: Holiday by Stanley Middleton, chapter 9 to end 5 7 Apr 08, 2018 06:12AM  
Literary Award Wi...: Holiday by Stanley Middleton, Chapters 1 - 8 2 4 Apr 02, 2018 06:16AM  
tree House Resort jaipur 2 2 Nov 10, 2015 11:32AM  
The Opening of Holiday 1 4 Nov 16, 2013 02:47AM  
  • Saville
  • Something to Answer For
  • The Elected Member
  • G.
  • The Old Devils
  • The Conservationist
  • Offshore
  • In a Free State
  • Rites of Passage (To the Ends of the Earth, #1)
  • Staying On
  • How Late it Was, How Late
  • The Siege of Krishnapur
  • Heat and Dust
  • Moon Tiger
  • Sacred Hunger
  • Last Orders
  • Hotel du Lac
  • The Famished Road
Stanley Middleton wrote 45 novels, including 1974's Booker Prize-winner Holiday. A Cautious Approach was his last novel.
More about Stanley Middleton

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“Everybody judges from the point of view of his own inadequacy.” 1 likes
“Here, at it again, he'd met, questioned, made friendly contact with a stranger when he ought to have been at home on his knees to his wife.” 0 likes
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