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Beryl’s parting shot

Published in June, The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress is one of Beryl Bainbridge’s finest works. But where is the ending she intended?

By Chip Martin   June 2011

Beryl’s “public persona created an unusual sense of intimacy between her and her readers”

Last autumn, when literary friends were still grieving Beryl Bainbridge’s passing, AN Wilson claimed that she was “toweringly the best novelist of her age” and a better writer than Virginia Woolf. Such enthusiasm reminds us that Beryl long ago achieved a cult status for some. For others less comfortable with the kind of comparisons that Beryl herself never made, it remains safe to say that the characters she created were unique.

There is much of Beryl in her characters. Famously, she once tipsily mistook the Queen…

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