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Penelope Fitzgerald's profile has remained high since her death over a year ago. The publication of her short stories, The Means of Escape, met with huge critical acclaim. In keeping with series style of the reissues, this will look extremely beautiful and collectable.
Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most elegant and distinctive voices in British fiction. Three of her novels, The Bookshop, The Beginning of Spring and The Gate of Angels have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Her last novel, The Blue Flower, was the most admired novel of 1995, chosen no fewer than nineteen times in the press as the 'Book of the Year'. It won America's National Book Critics' Circle Award, and this helped to introduce her to a wider international readership.
This charming, amusing and deft novel by a winner of the Booker Prize is set in Florence in the 1950s, though the characters might have stepped directly out of the Renaissance. The slightly eccentric characters share the trait suggested by the title, and never once does Fitzgerald strike a false note. Unique in the annals of Euro-American marital commerce is an aging count who trades his aristocratic lineage to an American in marriage and is ``left worse off than before.'' His daughter, beautiful, featherbrained Chiara, loves the solemnly scientific neurologist Salvatore, who has fled his native southern Italy and his father's deep involvement in politics; the elder is a passionate disciple of one of Mussolini's most distinguished victims. Others in a richly peopled scene include Maddalena, accurately known as Aunt Mad, and the hearty, bumptious, meddling, English schoolgirl Barney. This is a comedy of manners in the distinctively English tradition, brimming with the sweet pleasures of that high style. The novel shines with intelligence, wit, sly irony and the observant eye of a writer who seems unable to miss anything pertinent to her vocation. (April 30)
'Penelope Fitzgerald's Innocence seems to me to be about real people undergoing real experiences, more real and more interesting than most biographies, and it carries absolute conviction as to time and place. What more could one ask of a novel?' Spectator Books of the Year 'Innocence weilds a curious fascination, replete with the sense of sleepy, slightly anxious fatalism that pervades much of the Italian cinema of the period. Its magic, and its message, are as oblique and inconclusive as the lives of its characters, but both have a lingering power, refreshingly fictive, deliciously un-English.' Literary Review 'I know of no one who expresses so deftly and entertainingly the way in which life seldom turns out as expected. A wonderful book.' Spectator 'This is by far the fullest and richest of Penelope Fitzgerald's novels, and also the most ambitious. Her writing, as ever, has a natural authority, is very funny, warm and gently ironic, and full of tenderness towards human beings and their bravery in living.' TLS