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Great Granny Webster

A novel by

1977 Booker Prize (shortlist)

Two years after the war, the heroine of Caroline Blackwood's partially autobiographical novel is sent to convalesce from a minor operation at her Great Granny Webster's house in Brighton. But the only sea air she experiences are the drafts that creep into the house where she is required to sit quietly with only Richards, the tyrannized maid, and iron-willed, humourless Great Granny Webster for company. As for the rest of the family, her dashing father Ivor is dead in a jungle grave in Burma, mad Grandmother Dunmartin tried to kill her own grandson at his christening, long-suffering Grandfather Dunmartin allowed his estate to fall into ruin while he pretended his wife was sane enough to run it, and even glamorous Aunt Lavinia - though light-hearted - is determinedly suicidal. The laconic tone in which this motley cast of characters is described only adds to the horror - and the hilarity.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"None of us will forget Caroline Blackwood's Great Granny Webster, a matter-of-fact account--and all the grimmer for this matter-of-factness--of the temperamental and circumstantial misfortunes of an Ulster family. Although it's deceptively concise, it evokes the spirits of no less than four ages--Victorian, Edwardian, pre- and postwar--in exact and resonant prose...A unique literary experience." - Philip Larkin

"Shocking, brilliant, and wickedly funny, Great Granny Webster is Caroline Blackwood's best book. In the monstrous old dowager of Hove, and the ruling class she represents, Blackwood found a subject grandly commensurate with her own extraordinary style of aghast relish." - Jonathan Raban

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