by Beryl Bainbridge - £9.99 Little, Brown Book Group (2002)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780349114477 | ISBN 10: 0349114471
In 1764, the great Samuel Johnson, irascible genius, unparalleled wit and toast of all society, is plagued by ill health and has become jaded by his bickering dependants.
Suffering from a bout of melancholy, he accepts an invitation to the table of Henry Thrale, a wealthy Southwark brewer, and his vivacious wife Hester. Thus begins an extraordinary relationship that is to last twenty years - and allows us into a world unknown by James Boswell.
Against the brilliant background of Georgian London, According to Queeney candidly and comically tells a story of unrequited love, passion, rejection and possession, revealing the sexual tensions that lie beneath the ordered surface of everyday life.
"This is a wise book of small prose miracles...we see Johnson and his friends in unexpected and unfamiliar ways which are nevertheless convincing and authentic. I did not think anyone could do this, and still have no idea how Bainbridge pulled it off."
(Andrew Marr, Daily Telegraph)
"Poigant, pierced with truth, According to Queeney reaches into the dustier realms of history, bringing vividly to life a group of remarkable personalities with all their frailties, absurdities and cruel sensitivities."
(Kate Chisholm, Sunday Telegraph)
(Price & availability last checked: August 2018)