At the Jerusalem (Hardback)
  • At the Jerusalem (Hardback)
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At the Jerusalem (Hardback)

(author), (author of introduction)
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£18.99
Hardback 240 Pages / Published: 17/10/2019
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'A very funny book, but never jeering, full of pity, but unsentimentally harsh with the tragedy of old age which institutional kindness cannot cushion' Financial Times.

Following the death from leukaemia of her daughter, Celia, Mrs Gadny goes to live with her sullen stepson Henry. But she finds little affection or contentment either with him, or with his selfish wife Thelma, or with their ungrateful children. She is sent to an old people's home, 'The Jerusalem', a converted workhouse, green-and-white-tiled. Mrs Gadny is repulsed and humiliated by the home and its inmates: women like acid-tongued Miss Trimmer, the vulgar toothless Mrs Affery, and Mrs O'Blath with her hysterical laughter. Retreating from the kindness offered her by the nurses and the friendly Mrs Capes, she withdraws into her memories, but even their fragmented recollection provides small comfort. Mrs Gadny's only escape from 'The Jerusalem' lies in her own crumbling consciousness.

Paul Bailey is sensitive to the exact nuance of conversation, the precise detail that can create an environment or a mood, and draw the reader into it. His book is an exquisitely defined miniature whose impression will not easily be forgotten.

With an introduction by Colm Toibin.

Publisher: Head of Zeus
ISBN: 9781838934019
Number of pages: 240
Dimensions: 228 x 145 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
At the Jerusalem, [Paul Bailey's] first novel, would be remarkable as the work of a writer over middle age; from so young a man it is astounding in its empathy... A master of dialogue, Paul Bailey creates the atmosphere of The Jerusalem, where these old ladies have nothing to do except eat junket and die peacefully without any fuss... A very funny book, but never jeering, full of pity, but unsentimentally harsh with the tragedy of old age which institutional kindness cannot cushion' * Financial Times *
'It extends human sympathy beyond the point where it normally comes to a stop' * Observer *
Laconic, merciless, appallingly accurate... It is so well done that it is often not bearable' * Spectator *
At the Jerusalem remains a striking example of what Philip Hensher, on the dust jacket, calls 'imaginative emphy'... I would struggle to name a novel by a living English writer more worthy of republication' * New Statesman *

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“At the Jerusalem”

I didn't enjoy this book, although it did paint a vivid p icture of an elderly woman facing the vicissitudes of old age and the attitudes of family and others towards her. But it was basically depressing!

Paperback edition
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