Offshore

Penelope Fitzgerald

‘Offshore’ is a dry, genuinely funny novel, set among the houseboat community who rise and fall with the tide of the Thames on Battersea Reach. Living between land and water, they feel as if they belong to neither…

Maurice, a male prostitute, is the sympathetic friend to whom all the others turn. Nenna loves her husband but can’t get him back; her children run wild on the muddy foreshore. She feels drawn to Richard, the ex-RNVR city man whose converted minesweeper dominates the Reach. Is he sexually attractive because he can fold maps the right way? With this and other questions waiting to be answered, ‘Offshore’ offers a delightful glimpse of the workings of an eccentric community.

Reviews of Offshore

  • ‘An astonishing book. Hardly more than 50,000 words, it is written with a manic economy that makes it seem even shorter, and with a tamped-down force that continually explodes in a series of exactly controlled detonations. “Offshore” is a marvellous achievement: strong, supple, humane, ripe, generous and graceful.’ Bernard Levin, Sunday Times

    ‘She writes the kind of fiction in which perfection is almost to be hoped for, unostentatious as true virtuosity can make it, its texture a pure pleasure.’ Frank Kermode, London Review of Books

    ‘Perfectly balanced…the novelistic equivalent of a Turner watercolour.’ Washington Post

    ‘Fitzgerald is adept at evoking the atmosphere of late 1960’s London with rich period detail’ Elizabeth Day, Observer