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The Pumpkin Eater (Bloomsbury Classics) de…
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The Pumpkin Eater (Bloomsbury Classics) (original: 1962; edição: 1995)

de Penelope Mortimer (Autor)

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4191745,447 (3.7)66
The unnamed narrator of this story is married to her fourth and excessively well-paid husband. This income only serves to highlight the emptiness of a life led by a woman deprived of the domestic trappings that have defined her.
Membro:Deborah_Markus
Título:The Pumpkin Eater (Bloomsbury Classics)
Autores:Penelope Mortimer (Autor)
Informação:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (1995), 185 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:to-read

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The Pumpkin Eater de Penelope Mortimer (1962)

Adicionado recentemente portyeve, andres_escoces, WXC89, WXC789, wxc777
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Mostrando 1-5 de 17 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
What are children? Why do women have them? Those were the puzzling parts to me and the narrator. An odd but interesting read. ( )
  77nanci | Jan 25, 2021 |
I suspect this would have been a powerful book when it was first written, and it's a fast read, but I have to admit that I wanted more from it. Though there were parts that I found really engaging and worthwhile, it felt like style and intention overtook any real depth in story or character, both of which I wanted more of. There were times when I felt the book could have been stronger if lengthened and given that depth, and other times when I felt it really should have been much shorter, given the author's apparent intentions. It's possible that that's a signal of the times--and that it needed to be this length to make its point, upon first publication--but in any case, I can't say that this really lived up to my expectations or made me want more from the writer. I can see it being something studied in English classes, but not something I'd be likely to recommend outside of to readers looking for a very specifically feminist and satirical novel of its time. It just fell flat for me in too many ways. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Apr 29, 2020 |
I had been aware of this novel for years, but really can’t think why I haven’t read it till now. Penelope Mortimer is a writer I have read just once before, Daddy’s Gone-A-Hunting, published by Persephone is a beautifully written novel about a woman’s nervous breakdown. With this novel, we are definitely in familiar territory but The Pumpkin Eater, in my opinion is an even better novel. This is a novel about the pitfalls of marriage and motherhood, Mortimer’s simple prose is wonderfully immersive, dreamy and intimate.

“I want to fly from a window and pour through the air like a wind of love to raise his hair and slide into the palms of his hands.”

Reading Daphne Merkin’s introduction to this edition, it is clear that there is a lot about this novel that is autobiographical. Merkin suggests that the novel reads like a work of catharsis. In this novel Mortimer has reproduced something of her own tumultuous marriage, and there are other painful episodes in the novel which come from life too.

We only ever know our narrator as Mrs Armitage, the doctor – to whom she is talking about the wool drawer that her mother had had years before – calls her this, and we never do learn her first name. Whatever her name; it is not Penelope; Mortimer may have taken much directly from her own life – but she did not put herself into her central character. Whatever else was happening in her private life, Penelope Mortimer had her own professional and creative life – Mrs Armitage has never been more than a wife and mother. Her husband, Jake is a screenwriter – he has a rich, creative, rewarding life, filled with travel and acclaim. Jake’s wife is part of his home life – an attractive feature of his home, an accessory. The couple live in London but are building a glass tower in the country – with the intention that it will one day, become the family home. Mrs Armitage proudly tells the doctor about the tower. We sense immediately this happy ever after is an unrealistic expectation, that fairy tale ending perhaps, that we so often strive for.

Speaking to us from her therapist’s couch as the novel opens, Mrs Armitage is at once a warm and confiding voice. so wryly, intelligent, I liked her enormously straight away.

“I don’t know who I am, I don’t know what I’m like, how can I know what I want? I only know that whether I’m good or bad, whether I’m a bitch or not, whether I’m strong or weak or contemptible or a bloody martyr – I mean whether I’m fat or thin, tall or short, because I don’t know – I want to be happy.”

Jake is our narrator’s fourth husband, she a mother to an enormous brood of children – from this, and her previous marriages – who are equally nameless – sixteen-year-old Dinah is the only one who we meet and whose name we learn. All the rest are a homogenous whole – the youngest is just three – and there is a nurse employed to help care for them. What will she do then if she doesn’t go on having children? She rather likes the idea of having yet another child, Jake is dead set against it. Throughout the novel we sense the children running in and out of rooms, calling for attention, as their mother Mrs Armitage is either falling apart – or trying to hold things together.

Slowly Mrs Armitage begins to piece together what is going on in her head, she has broken down in Harrods’ linen department weeping great tears over the linen.

“I began drinking because the thought that I was drinking gave me a kind of identity: each time I poured myself a brandy in the deserted afternoon I could say to myself ‘I am a woman who drinks.”

Mrs A is very comfortably off, Jake has been successful for a number of years, and she wants for nothing, and yet this comfortable existence only serves to highlight her isolation, depression and fragility. Mrs A has had her whole life directed by men, from her parents’ home she entered into a series of marriages and had children it is the one thing she knows how to do. At the heart of the problem of course is her marriage, her husband’s betrayals are bruising – yet all he can do is shrug them off – as little nothings. (Can I just mentioned I wanted to punch Jake).

She remembers a time when a friend from school came to stay, the fifteen-year-old Mrs A, had a quiet little passion for the vicar’s son, her friend Ireen is younger and quite the femme fatal. Ireen is desperate to have ‘a story’ to take back to school – and her friend is soon disenchanted with the girl who at school seemed so wonderful. There’s an uncomfortable encounter with a much older man, who Mrs A is reminded of suddenly, in the person of an unpleasant social acquaintance, when Jake brings all the film people to the house for a party.

The Pumpkin Eater is a powerful novel, I loved it. A book I had suggested to my book group – but they didn’t pick it, so I read it anyway. I would have been interested to talk to them about it – there are definitely feminist issues at the heart of it.

Edited to add – a big big thank you to Thomas from Hogglestock for this book, which I won on his blog. ( )
3 vote Heaven-Ali | Oct 13, 2018 |
J’ai acheté ce livre sous forme électronique, après avoir lu un article dans le Matricule des Anges de ce mois-ci, dans l’idée de le lire pendant ma semaine de vacances. Je ne regrette pas du tout mon achat car comme d’habitude avec les livres conseillés par ce magazine, c’est un livre qui me titille, me dérange, m’interroge et c’est ce qui compte en littérature finalement.

Le Mangeur de citrouille raconte le mariage de Ms. et Mr. Armitage, de son point de vue à elle (qui est de loin le plus intéressant). Le livre s’ouvre sur l’annonce aux familles du mariage. Les deux futurs mariés s’attendaient aux réactions mais elles semblent rudes au lecteur. Le père du marié ne comprend pas le choix de madame car son fils ne peut être un bon mari et surtout un bon père pour les enfants qu’elle a déjà d’autres mariages car il n’est pas suffisamment mature. Les parents de la mariée ne comprennent pas le fait que le jeune homme veuille prendre autant d’enfants, qui ne sont pas les siens, à charge car notre personnage principal en est tout de même à son quatrième mariage (deux divorces et un veuvage ont clôturé les précédents). Personne ne s’oppose au mariage, même si le père de la mariée (avec le soutien du futur) oblige sa fille à abandonner ses trois premiers enfants (plus exactement, il veut les envoyer en pension et les prendre chez lui pour les vacances, leur mère ne les voyant plus de fait). Malgré de nombreux scrupules, elle le fait pour pouvoir se marier avec son nouvel amour.

Le mariage se fait et le début se passe bien. Le mari, qui travaille dans le cinéma, a de plus en plus de succès, l’argent lui permettant d’engager de nombreux domestiques pour décharger sa femme. Le problème est que le couple s’éloigne de plus en plus, lui étant absent et elle n’assumant plus le rôle d’épouse et de mère qu’elle affectionne. Elle déprime de plus en plus, d’autant qu’au bout de neuf ans de mariage, son mari la trompe avec une jeune femme qu’ils hébergeaient. Son mari l’envoie chez un psychiatre (idiot), qui lui fait revenir sur son enfance, son adolescence, ses précédents mariages … sans jamais penser que le problème est peut-être le mari. Pour lui, le cœur du sujet est cette volonté d’avoir trop d’enfants, alors que l’époque lui permet de contrôler cela (le mari, les parents, tout le monde est d’accord sur le côté pathologique). Ces séances n’améliorent absolument pas l’état de la dame, qui elle veut tomber enceinte parce qu’elle estime que son couple ira mieux, qu’elle-même ira mieux. C’est un désir qu’elle ressent profondément.

Quand elle tombe enceinte, le mari encourage fortement sa femme à avorter et à se faire stériliser. Celle-ci accepte, même si cela va la mutiler, car elle aime toujours son mari et souhaite tenir compte de ses désirs (plus que des siens en fait). Elle découvre après, mais cela se passe au même moment, que son mari la trompe avec une amie du couple et que celle-ci est enceinte (alors qu’il ne voulait pas d’enfants de sa femme). Cela va bien évidemment remettre en cause son statut de mère et d’épouse, mais aussi lui permettre de s’envisager, de s’affirmer en tant que femme.

J’en dis beaucoup dans ce résumé (comme le faisait l’article du Matricule des Anges) mais ce qui est important ici, plus que l’histoire, c’est de suivre et de saisir les sentiments de Ms. Armitage, vis-à-vis des événements.

Cela a été très difficile pour moi de comprendre Ms. Armitage. Le roman étant largement autobiographique, je pense que cela vient du fait que le personnage n’est pas un personnage de fiction et que l’auteur a mis beaucoup d’elle dans ce roman (tout est décrit avec tellement de sincérité mais aussi de lucidité, c’est assez poignant). Ainsi, le personnage principal a un côté dual, hésitant que l’on peut comprendre dans la réalité. Je m’explique. Son histoire avant son quatrième mariage trace pour moi le portrait d’une femme forte et indépendante, qui suit ses instincts, ses amours, plus exactement ce qu’elle pense bien pour elle, sans se soucier de ce que son entourage pense. Je ne pense pas que dans les années 60 ce comportement était si courant que cela.

Je n’ai pas compris son changement total de comportement avec son nouveau mari . Qu’est-ce qui s’est passé ? Je comprends l’enfermement dans le quotidien, dans la routine … mais qu’est-ce qui fait qu’elle est restée cette fois-ci, alors qu’; il demande beaucoup tout de même. Un reste d’amour, de tendresse ? La pression du mari, qu’il faut satisfaire ? J’ai trouvé que ce n’était pas assez expliqué (cela devait être clair pour Penelope Mortimer, vu qu’elle l’avait vécu). Je pensais toujours en lisant « mais pars avant qu’il ne soit trop tard ! Il va te détruire ! » Ce qui a amplifié ma perplexité, c’est le fait qu’après l’opération, elle prend encore sa défense, et se prend même à penser que c’est bien car elle va pouvoir enfin faire l’amour sans « craindre » une grossesse. Craindre est son mot et là, je me suis dit mais les enfants, tu les as fait en connaissance de cause (c’est ce que j’avais compris au début), ou tu as pris les choses telles qu’elles sont venues et tu les as aimés, comme c’est normal. Et dans ce cas-là, je n’ai pas compris ce qui avait changé.

En conclusion, Penelope Mortimer aurait pu faire beaucoup plus long, parce que son roman est important et très intéressant, son personnage principal incarné ; cela méritait encore plus de profondeur. Je conseille ce roman car il fait réfléchir sur ce que l’on peut accepter par amour, et surtout à quel point on peut être aveuglé. C’est un appel à se faire confiance ! ( )
  CecileB | Aug 19, 2018 |
"I know there's an awful lot of us..."
By sally tarbox on 5 May 2018
Format: Kindle Edition
On her fourth marriage - to an increasingly successful but philandering screenwriter - the narrator is mother to a large number of children from her marriages, and is starting to crack up.
This is no normal family tale- only one child is ever named and given any character. The rest remain an amorphous group in the background. We drift through her life - from her visits to a psychologist, back to her teens, through her life pre-Jake, money worries...and on to the present celebrity lifestyle.
The narrator seems to have lost control of her life...marrying Jake was followed by her passively but reluctantly allowing the eldest to be sent to boarding school; with financial security comes a breakdown in the family:
"I imagined I'd have more time for Jake. But we all began to live alone, that's what really happened. We got men in to paint the rooms, and we didn't have to wash up any more, the children didn't come and grate cheese or make biscuits, in the evening they watched television, but not with us, and in the afternoons they went out for walks with the help. We drove about alone in our cars and we went away for holidays without Jake, because he was working."
In a fragile mental state, she is about to sacrifice yet more for her husband's convenience...
Evokes the 1960s, very well written. ( )
1 vote starbox | May 4, 2018 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Penelope Mortimerautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Merkin, DaphneIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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