OVERRIDE

The Uncommon Reader

A Novella

Alan Bennett

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

From the author of The History Boys and The Clothes They Stood Up In
 
 A deliciously funny novella that celebrates the pleasure of reading. When the Queen in pursuit of her wandering corgis stumbles upon a mobile library  she feels duty bound to borrow a book. Aided by Norman, a young man from the palace kitchen who frequents the library, Bennett describes the Queen's transformation as she discovers the liberating pleasures of the written word. With the poignant and mischievous wit of The History Boys, England's best loved author revels in the power of literature to change even the most uncommon reader's life.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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At Windsor it was the evening of the state banquet and as the president of France took his place beside Her Majesty, the royal family formed up behind and the procession slowly moved off and through into the Waterloo Chamber.
‘Now that I have you to myself,’ said the Queen, smiling to left and right as they glided through the glittering throng, ‘I’ve been longing to ask you about the writer Jean Genet.’
‘Ah,’ said the president. ‘Oui.’
The ‘Marseillaise’ and the national anthem made for a pause in the proceedings, but when
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Uncommon Reader

"A delicious and very funny what-if.... a delightful little book that unfolds into a witty meditation on the subversive pleasures of reading.... Mr. Bennett has written a captivating fairy tale ... a tale that showcases its author’s customary élan and keen but humane wit."
--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
 
"Bennett's jokes are so beautifully modulated.... The Uncommon Reader is a piece of audacious lèse majesté which, in an earlier age, would have put its author's head on a spike.... Bennett knows what he is doing."
--The Guardian
 
"A kind of palace fairy tale for grown-ups.... [[Bennett's]] account of the queen’s adventures often made me laugh out loud."
--Jeremy McCarter, The New York Times
 
"Briskly original and subversively funny."
--Publishers Weekly
 
"[Bennett's] subtle wit and tonal command show why he is so beloved in his native Britain."
--Kirkus Reviews

In the Press

The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett - Books - Review - New York Times
What if Queen Elizabeth at the age of 70-something were suddenly to become a voracious reader?
- The New York Times
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
This little gem is the best thing about the jubilee. By Nicholas Lezard
- The Guardian
Fiction Review: The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett / Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $15 (120p) ISBN 978-0-374-28096-3

Briskly original and subversively funny, this novella from popular British writer Bennett (Untold Stories ; Tony-winning play The History

- Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Alan Bennett

  • Alan Bennett is a renowned playwright and essayist whose screenplay for The Madness of King George was nominated for an Academy Award. He lives in London, England.
  • Alan Bennett Hugo Glendinning
    Alan Bennett
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The Uncommon Reader

A Novella

Alan Bennett

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