Friday, July 02, 2010

Beryl Bainbridge

Well, we've lost another great northern writer. Last week, Alan Plater died, and now Beryl Bainbridge has died too. Plater was labelled a writer from the north-east (perhaps unfairly, because there is always an underlying pejorative sense to such labels, and he was a great writer full stop). Beryl, although she came from the north-west, was never really considered a regional writer. Rather, she was a very English writer, and she wrote some lovely, spare, quixotic books. She was also almost completely barmy, which added immeasurably to her charm - you could never be quite sure what she would say next, but whatever it was it would be said with feeling. Writers of the bloated, overwritten fiction which is so prevalent today would do well to go back over Beryl's oeuvre and wonder how she managed to say so much in so few pages.

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