About The Clothes They Stood Up In and The Lady and the Van
From Alan Bennett, the author of The Madness of King George, come two stories about the strange nature of possessions…or the lack of them. In the nationally bestselling novel The Clothes They Stood Up In, the staid Ransomes return from the opera to find their Regent’s Park flat stripped bare–right down to the toilet-paper roll. Free of all their earthly belongings, the couple faces a perplexing question: Who are they without the things they’ve spent a lifetime accumulating? Suddenly a world of unlimited, frightening possibility opens up before them.
In “The Lady in the Van,” which The Village Voice called “one of the finest bursts of comic writing the twentieth century has produced,” Bennett recounts the strange life of Miss Shepherd, a London eccentric who parked her van (overstuffed with decades’ worth of old clothes, oozing batteries, and kitchen utensils still in their original packaging) in the author’s driveway for more than fifteen years. A mesmerizing portrait of an outsider with an acquisitive taste and an indomitable spirit, this biographical essay is drawn with equal parts fascination and compassion.
Alan Bennett is the author of the number-one British bestseller Writing Home. He is a renowned playwright and essayist, whose screenplay for The Madness of King George was nominated for an Academy Award.
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“[The Clothes They Stood Up In is an] absolutely delicious, near perfect little book. You will read it in a couple of hours at most, but you will think about it for a long, long time.” -Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World
“[The Clothes They Stood Up In is] a completely charming entertainment: a small gem by one of Britain’s most versatile and gifted writers.” -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“One of the top ten books of 2001.” -Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World
“Full of jolly, broad, and very English humour…a charm-filled holiday read.” -Alain de Botton
“Sharp…a happy evening’s read and a tantalizing mental challenge to those of us who, like the Ransomes, find [our] lives encumbered and [our] senses blunted by too much stuff.” -Brooke Allen, The New York Times Book Review