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Named by the Observer as “one of the 100 greatest novels of all time,” this dark comedy with a disturbing twist follows two working-class women in 1970s London.
Unlikely friends Brenda and Freda share a rundown room in London and toil away at an Italian factory pasting labels onto wine bottles. Brenda, a shy and passive thirty-three-year-old brunette, recently ran away to the city to escape an abusive husband. Freda, meanwhile, is a rebellious twenty-six-year-old blonde with big dreams and a penchant for bossing people around.
The two women are the only English workers at the bottling facility, and their presence certainly stirs up trouble. Freda has a crush on the trainee manager, Vittorio, and tries to get close to him despite the fact that he’s engaged to an Italian girl. Brenda, on the other hand, spends a fair amount of time trying to distance herself from the advances of the factory’s manager, Mr. Rossi.
When Freda organizes a company outing, what’s supposed to be a day of freedom and fun turns into a dark and chaotic tragedy. The workers plan to travel by van to a stately castle, where they will picnic and drink wine before visiting an African safari. But the van never shows up, and when they finally do make it to the castle, something goes fatally wrong.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, The Bottle Factory Outing was inspired by author Beryl Bainbridge’s own experiences working as a cellar girl in the mid-twentieth century. Intertwining themes of loneliness and friendship, sexual frustration and personal power, passion and murder, this tragicomedy is a British classic that depicts working-class life as something both terribly morose and wickedly funny.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Beryl Bainbridge including rare images from the author’s estate.
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