Regular price: £8.49

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
OR
In Basket

Summary

Penelope Fitzgerald's Booker Prize-winning novel of loneliness and connecting is set among the houseboat community of the Thames and has a new introduction from Alan Hollinghurst.

On Battersea Reach, a mixed bag of the temporarily lost and the patently eccentric live on houseboats, rising and falling with the tide of the Thames.

There is good-natured Maurice, by occupation a male prostitute, by chance a receiver of stolen goods. And Richard, an ex-navy man whose boat, much like its owner, dominates the Reach. Then there is Nenna, an abandoned wife and mother of two young girls running wild on the muddy foreshore, whose domestic predicament, as it deepens, will draw this disparate community together.

©1979 Penelope Fitzgerald; Introduction Alan Hollinghurst 2013; Preface Hermione Lee 2013 (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"An astonishing book.... Offshore is a marvellous achievement: strong, supple, humane, ripe, generous and graceful." (Bernard Levin, Sunday Times)
"Perfectly balanced...the novelistic equivalent of a Turner watercolour." ( Washington Post)
"This Booker prize winner is a slightly dark, witty novel.... The brilliant Fitzgerald takes a subtle squint at thwarted love, loneliness and the human need to be necessary." (Val Hennessy, Daily Mail)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 2.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Puffing insincerity

Disappointing reading of fine novel. Every phrase is overspoken and preceded by a rushed and audible intake of breath.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Adequate reading

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He renders the characters' voices well (even when faced with a Canadian accent), but I found his tone when reading the narrative sing-song and infantilising, like he was reading me Winnie the Pooh. Quite unsuitable for a bleak, grown-up novel like this one.

Any additional comments?

Not Fitzgerald's best, but a strong book – compressed, allusive, subtle and often funny, much like her others. The voice of Alan Hollinghurst's baritone reading his insightful Introduction to the reissue is a treat and almost worth the price of the audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful