The Birthday Boys: A Novel

Open Road Media
4
Free sample

The dramatic, fictionalized account of Robert Falcon Scott’s famed and fatal expedition to Antarctica by one of Britain’s best-loved authors.

Departing from Cardiff in 1910, the Terra Nova entered dark waters and headed south. On board were Petty Officer Edgar “Taff” Evans, Dr. Edward “Uncle Bill” Wilson, Capt. Robert Falcon “Con” Scott, Lt. Henry Robertson “Birdie” Bowers, and Capt. Lawrence Edward “Titus” Oates. Through an imaginative yet historically accurate retelling of the crew’s mission to become the first explorers to reach the South Pole—and with each of the book’s five chapters narrated from the unique perspective of one of these men—author Beryl Bainbridge imbues a tragic and thrilling adventure story with profound psychological, metaphysical, and emotional insight.
 
The first three chapters of The Birthday Boys—recounted by Evans, Wilson, and Scott, respectively—tell of the preparations and fundraising required for the journey, two stopovers in Madeira and South Trinidad Island, and the difficult conditions the expedition faces when they land on Antarctica. It is Wilson who first fears for the safety of the crew, when from atop the ship’s crow’s-nest he spies a fantastical half-man-half-bird creature flying above the sea. The doctor is certain this apparition is a harbinger of death. Troubles then ensue when Scott sets up a base camp at Cape Evans as well as several depots in the direction of the South Pole. The motor sledge breaks down almost immediately, several ponies are lost to the harsh elements, and it is revealed that a competing polar expedition led by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen is already well ahead of Scott’s team.
 
In the final two chapters—told by Bowers and Oates—readers are taken on a dangerous but spectacular detour to a penguin rookery, where the men witness gorgeous auroras, build an igloo, gather eggs, and slaughter the arctic birds for their blubber. When a violent blizzard hits, it looks as if no one will make it out alive. But brotherly love in the face of all odds gives the men the power to survive, and the five heroes set off on their final march to the South Pole.
 
Though history has already revealed the catastrophic end of this tale, Bainbridge shows us the bravery, courage, and humanity essential to the adventure. Masterfully blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction, The Birthday Boys is a compelling historical biography that challenges readers to discover truths that can only be reached through the imagination.
 
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Beryl Bainbridge including rare images from the author’s estate.

 
Read more

About the author

Dame Beryl Bainbridge (1932–2010) is acknowledged as one of the greatest British novelists of her time. She was the author of two travel books, five plays, and seventeen novels, five of which were shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, including Master Georgie, which went on to win the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the WHSmith Literary Award. She was also awarded the Whitbread Literary Award twice, for Injury Time and Every Man for Himself. In 2011, a special Man Booker “Best of Beryl” Prize was awarded in her honor, voted for by members of the public.
 
Born in Liverpool and raised in nearby Formby, Bainbridge spent her early years working as an actress, leaving the theater to have her first child. Her first novel, Harriet Said . . ., was written around this time, although it was rejected by several publishers who found it “indecent.” Her first published works were Another Part of the Wood and An Awfully Big Adventure, and many of her early novels retell her Liverpudlian childhood. A number of her books have been adapted for the screen, most notably An Awfully Big Adventure, which is set in provincial theater and was made into a film by Mike Newell, starring Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant. She later turned to more historical themes, such as the Scott Expedition in The Birthday Boys, a retelling of the Titanic story in Every Man for Himself, and Master Georgie, which follows Liverpudlians during the Crimean War. Her no-word-wasted style and tight plotting have won her critical acclaim and a committed following. Bainbridge regularly contributed articles and reviews to the Guardian, Observer, and Spectator, among others, and she was the Oldie’s longstanding theater critic. In 2008, she appeared at number twenty-six in a list of the fifty most important novelists since 1945 compiled by the Times (London). At the time of her death, Bainbridge was working on a new novel, The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress, which was published posthumously.
 
Read more
3.8
4 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
Read more
Published on
Oct 4, 2016
Read more
Pages
181
Read more
ISBN
9781504039420
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
Fiction / Biographical
Fiction / Historical
Fiction / Literary
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize: In postwar Liverpool, a teenager joins a theater troupe to escape her working-class life—and is drawn into a darker world.

From one of Britain’s best-loved novelists, this is the story of Stella Bradshaw, an orphaned sixteen-year-old with dreams of getting out of her boardinghouse in the slums. Unwilling to resign herself to a job at Woolworth’s, she finds a place at the Liverpool Repertory Company instead.
 
She quickly falls head over heels for the rundown theater’s dissolute director, Meredith Potter, but he has no interest in her. And Stella is too naïve to understand why. As she tries to gain experience with other colleagues in the hope of one day seducing Meredith, the director is faced with a crisis when a cast member is injured just as the company’s production of Peter Pan is about to open. The replacement is an older man, a war hero and a prominent actor—and he’s instantly drawn to Stella. But while the romance that follows may be innocent, its implications are far from wholesome.
 
Named by the Times (London) as one of the “fifty greatest British writers since 1945,” author Beryl Bainbridge portrays working-class England in the aftermath of World War II with her signature dark humor and dry wit. Adapted into a 1995 film starring Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman, An Awfully Big Adventure is an atmospheric historical novel about the loss of innocence with a definitively modern—and chilling—twist.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Beryl Bainbridge including rare images from the author’s estate.

 
 
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.

Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father's reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

In 1910, hoping that the study of penguin eggs would provide an evolutionary link between birds and reptiles, a group of explorers left Cardiff by boat on Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition to Antarctica. Not all of them would return. Written by one of its survivors, The Worst Journey in the World tells the moving and dramatic story of the disastrous Scott expedition. Driven by an obsession for scientific knowledge, these brave polar explorers embarked on a journey into the unknown, testing their endurance by pushing themselves to the ultimate physical and mental limits as they surveyed the striking and mammoth land that lay far to the south. Their goal was to discover as much as was scientifically possible about the terrain and habitat of Antarctica, and to be the first to reach the South Pole. The party was plagued by bad luck, weather conditions of unanticipated ferocity, and the physical deterioration of the party itself on the last part of the journey.

The youngest member of the team and its sole survivor, Apsley Cherry-Garrard gives a gripping account of Scott’s last expedition. The author was also part of the rescue team that eventually found the frozen bodies of Scott and the three men who had accompanied him on the final push to the Pole. These deaths would haunt him for the rest of his life as he questioned the decisions he had made and the actions he had taken in the days leading up to the Polar Party’s demise.

Prior to this sad denouement, Cherry-Garrard’s account is filled with details of scientific discovery and anecdotes of human resilience in a harsh environment. Each participant in the expedition is brought fully to life. The author’s recollections are supported by diary excerpts and accounts from other teammates.
Winner of the Whitbread Literary Award: A darkly humorous tale about a 1970s dinner party gone terribly wrong by one of Britain’s most renowned authors.

Edward is normally a cautious man, especially when it comes to his mistress, Binny. But he feels bad that his lover never gets to enjoy the small intimacies of marriage, like sorting his socks or picking out gifts for his family. It is out of this guilt that Edward agrees to throw a dinner party with his “real friends” so Binny can feel more involved in his life and play hostess for a night. But there’s one catch: Edward has to be home no later than eleven to keep his wife from discovering his infidelity.
 
The invitees to the secret soiree are a discreet couple: Simpson, an aspiring adulterer himself, and Muriel, a simultaneously disapproving and open-minded housewife. But as Binny haphazardly prepares the food, shoos her children out for the night, and frets about the aesthetics of her front lawn, the guests take an unintended detour through her run-down neighborhood. Edward, meanwhile, is silently panicking—and drinking.
 
Simpson and Muriel finally arrive, and when everyone sits down to eat, it’s already a quarter past nine. Things get off to a decent, if awkward, start, until there’s a loud knock at the door. It’s Binny’s scandalously drunk old friend, Alma, who proceeds to vomit and pass out. But what should be the end of the evening is only the beginning. More unexpected guests arrive—this time it’s bank robbers with sawed-off shotguns. What follows is a chaotic and hilarious series of events, replete with a fake ping-pong match, a baby carriage full of cash, and a delirious getaway. Edward soon begins to worry less about getting home on time, and more about making it home at all.
 
Equal parts dark comedy and thriller, Injury Time is a witty take on 1970s social mores by one of the most celebrated British authors, Beryl Bainbridge, who was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize five times.
 
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Beryl Bainbridge including rare images from the author’s estate.
 
 
From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a #1 New York Times bestselling novel about two unforgettable American women.

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.