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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Palace without Chairs

Brigid Brophy

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To purchase Palace without Chairs

Title: Palace without Chairs
Author: Brigid Brophy
Genre: Novel
Written: 1978
Length: 259 pages
Availability: Palace without Chairs - US
Palace without Chairs - UK
Palace without Chairs - Canada

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Our Assessment:

B- : decent, often amusing, but also lacking much

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Christian Science Monitor . 18/4/1978 Adam Bellow
The NY Times Book Rev. D 16/7/1978 Edmund White
New Statesman . 28/4/1978 Jeremy Treglown
TLS . 28/4/1978 Gabriele Annan

  From the Reviews:
  • "(T)he book doesn't work. The style of silliness is not suited to Miss Brophy's true concerns." - Edmund White, The New York Times Book Review

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Palace without Chairs is set in the imaginary and quite insignificant kingdom of Evarchia, the story focussing on the country's royal family. The novel opens with the king on his deathbed and crown prince Ulrich rushing back to the palace. Everything should be easier than it actually is, as even Ulrich's simple return turns into an exceptionally arduous adventure.
       It appears that complications arise at all turns in Evarchia. Not the least of them is the continuing problem of the lack of chairs in the palace -- a problem not as easily rectified as one might believe in this bureaucratic little state.
       The king survives his first death-bed scenes. Ulrich decides he would rather not be next in line for the throne. Eventually there is an assassination, which throws things into considerable turmoil.
       Brophy's novel is well-written, the scenes clever and nicely described, the dialogue amusing -- but the story as a whole is rarely gripping, the humour often seeming forced (and, really, not that amusing, most of the time). Meant to be a semi-historical little saga cum satire, it isn't vicious enough as satire, nor does does it embrace the sweeping expectations of the historical and/or romantic genre adequately.
       There is amusement to be found here, but more in the details than the whole. Brophy's writing is clever enough to make for adequate entertainment, but overall the novel still disappoints.

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Brigid Brophy: Other books by Brigid Brophy under review: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of Contemporary British fiction at the complete review

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About the Author:

       Brigid Brophy (1929-1995) wrote numerous acclaimed novels and works of non-fiction, and was instrumental in establishing the Public Lending Right.

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