The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party

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Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • ISIS Publishing
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • New ed of Large Print ed
  • 0753164191
  • 9780753164198

Review Text

Poppy has reached the eve of her 80th birthday. Tomorrow her family will gather to help her 'celebrate'. Poppy, who feels about 35, isn't sure it's a cause for celebration; though she hopes it will be nice to see, all gathered together, her two daughters and son Richard (with his gay partner), their children - her grandchildren - even a tiny, winsome, great-grand-daughter; some of them from as far afield as New York. They will be 13 in all, a fact not overlooked by one member of the family. Poppy is too busy sorting out who sleeps where, how the various sexes can be accomodated, and seated around one table. Luckily Bossy Beryl, Poppy's second daughter, and her mild husband Rodney, are bringing their caravan, with two spare bunks which should ease the pressure on sleeping space provided someone can be persuaded to take up the offer. In short, this is the story of a family gathering - almost any family gathering - with its potential for pleasure or conflict. We've all enjoyed, or suffered, them. At 80 Poppy knows she will be aggravatingly bossed, patronised (in the nicest way) and told she is 'wonderful for her age'. What the event does for her personally is to set off on a journey through time, from her childhood in Yorkshire, by way of three marriages, three births, and most piercing of all, a wartime love-affair with someone long disappeared - the only person she would really like to share her birthday celebration - and about whom her family is completely unaware. In short, a sagacious, vastly entertaining, analysis of a situation which becomes increasingly frequent as we live longer, healthier, lives and however mutely, resent being written-off as 'old' by succeeding generations. (Kirkus UK)show more