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Summary

A wonderful, immaculately researched novel that brings Dr Johnson, his friends, and his times to life. Beryl Bainbridge’s novel is a masterly evocation of the last years of Dr Johnson, arguably Britain’s greatest Man of Letters. The time is the 1770s and 1780s and Johnson, having completed his life’s major work (he compiled the first ever Dictionary of the English language) is running an increasingly chaotic life. Torn between his strict morality and his undeclared passion for Mrs Thrale, the wife of an old friend, According to Queeney reveals one of Britain’s most wonderful characters in all his wit and glory. Above all, though, this is a story of love and friendship and brilliantly narrated by Queeney, Mrs Thrale’s daughter, looking back over her life.

©2001 Beryl Bainbridge (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"It is hard to think of anyone now writing who understands the human heart as Beryl Bainbridge does, or exposes its workings with more tenderness." ( The Times)
"Duncan is memorable as the tetchy and spirited Mrs Thrale." ( Sunday Times)

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Unfinished

Made three attempts but never got beyond chapter 2.
I couldn't latch on and gave up after starting again for the third time. It was a book group choice so I tried harder than I would have otherwise.
I prefer unabridged versions.