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Set in the 1960s, the characters in People at Play are living life as it comes. Stanislaus Spolianski, the housekeeper’s son, is an underdog full of resentment. He seethes in his Bayswater house and lets rooms to people he delights in despising. Eternally pig-in-the-middle, he is emotionally tossed between High Pines (a residential home for the elderly run by Mrs. Bannister and his mother) and his beloved Bayswater; between Della, Mrs. Bannister’s daughter who once ran off with a German P.O.W., and fifteen year old Lucy who sexually teases him and breaks the precarious bubble in which he lives. High Pines seethes too as unease stirs among its residents. Why do they fear Grizelda, with her crazed waxen face and blond hair? She is after all, only one of Mrs. Bannister’s family of dolls from the top floor. Surely it is a coincidence that she is found by every death-bed?
‘Berridge displays an unerring ability for delicately distilling character into a single sentence…Elegance and economy.’ New Statesman
Her wry, sly, ironic awareness has never been shown to greater advantage.’ Spectator
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