With the poignant and mischievous wit of The History Boys, England's best loved author revels in the power of literature to change even the most uncommon reader's life.
An unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form (or senior) boys in a British boys' school are, as such boys will be, in pursuit of sex, sport, and a place at a good university, generally in that order. In all their efforts, they are helped and hindered, enlightened and bemused, by a maverick English teacher who seeks to broaden their horizons in sometimes undefined ways, and a young history teacher who questions the methods, as well as the aim, of their schooling. In The History Boys, Alan Bennett evokes the special period and place that the sixth form represents in an English boy's life. In doing so, he raises—with gentle wit and pitch-perfect command of character—not only universal questions about the nature of history and how it is taught but also questions about the purpose of education today.
In The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson, a recently bereaved widow finds interesting ways to supplement her income by performing as a patient for medical students, and renting out her spare room. Quiet, middle-class, and middle-aged, Mrs. Donaldson will soon discover that she rather enjoys role-play at the hospital, and the irregular and startling entertainment provided by her tenants.
In The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes, a disappointed middle-aged mother dotes on her only son, Graham, who believes he must shield her from the truth. As Graham's double life becomes increasingly complicated, we realize how little he understands, not only of his own desires but also those of his mother.
A master storyteller dissects a very English form of secrecy with two stories of the unexpected in otherwise apparently ordinary lives.
Untold Stories brings together some of the finest and funniest writing by one of England's best-known literary figures. Alan Bennett's first major collection since Writing Home contains previously unpublished work—including the title piece, a poignant memoir of his family and of growing up in Leeds—along with his much celebrated diary for the years 1996 to 2004, and numerous other exceptional essays, reviews, and comic pieces. In this highly anticipated compendium, the Today Book Club author of The Clothes They Stood Up In reveals a great many untold secrets and stories with his inimitable humor and wry honesty—his family's unspoken history, his memories of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, and his response to the success of his most recent play, The History Boys.
Since the success of Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s, Bennett has delighted audiences worldwide with writing that is, in his words, "no less serious because it is funny." The History Boys opened to great acclaim at the Royal National Theatre in 2004, winning numerous awards, and is scheduled to open in New York City in April 2006.