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The Queen and I (1992)

por Sue Townsend

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Queen in Hell Close (1)

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1,1072818,330 (3.47)47
A seminal comic masterpiece of our time, now published for the first time in Penguin. The Monarchy Has Been Dismantled When a Republican party wins the General Election, their first act in power is to strip the royal family of their assets and titles and send them to live on a housing estate in the Midlands. Exchanging Buckingham Palace for a two-bedroomed semi in Hell Close (as the locals dub it), caviar for boiled eggs, servants for a social worker named Trish, the Queen and her family learn what it means to be poor among the great unwashed. But is their breeding sufficient to allow them to rise above their changed circumstance or deep down are they really just like everyone else?… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 27 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
So it probably wasn't the best of timing that meant I was listening to this the day the Queen died. But I'm not sure that made a huge difference to my reading enjoyment (or lack thereof). It is billed as provocative and hilarious. I'm not sure it lived up to billing.
It is based on the surmise that at the General Election the Republican Party, led by Jack Barker, win. They form a government and depose the monarchy, apparently all by Monday morning. The Queen and her family find themselves living in a council house on Hellebore close, only 5 letters are missing and it is Hell Close to all and sundry. There are a significant number of fish out of water set pieces, with some of the royals presented as being less practical than others. In some cases it feels that she has them badly misrepresented. Their interactions with their very poor neighbours are not entirely without malice, which seems to be aimed at both parties. The first portion of the book felt, to me, to be bordering on cruel to all concerned. It also feels like a portion of the dispute was manufactured. The argument between the Queen & Prince Philip about what their surname should be seemed redundant when the royal family's surname was changed to the double barrelled Mountbatten-Windsor in the 60s. by the time this was published it should hardly have raised an argument.
The book improves as it progresses. It becomes less about attempts at comedic set pieces and becomes more about the relationship between the various residents. There are some really touching moments, Philomena and the Queen Mother, for example, and their relationship, is one that goes beyond and reaches an greater depth. Harris, the corgi finds a whole new world outside the door of number 9 and generally causes mayhem. But that has to be balanced against the farcical elements and an increasingly unlikely story about the antics of the government. I borrowed this from the library and the last chapter had a scratch so bad that I couldn't listen to it, but I can't say I feel any great need to seek it out to finish it off.
While the idea is timeless, the details are not. The giro arriving in the post, the phone box on the end of the road, there are any number of references that anchor this in the 1990s. That probably makes sense to those who remember that time, but I wonder how much need explaining that would have seemed obvious. It feels rather dated, in that sense.
It raises, along the way, questions of the welfare state and how should that be structured. The people of Hell Close are trapped in poverty, some of them have had poor education and can't help their children out of their predicament, their school is crumbling, there are too many pupils. The local hospital has closed wards and the doctors overworked. The pension is barely enough to live on and they all struggle to make ends meet. It raises the question do we need a monarchy - and that, too, remains a valid question, along with an elite ruling class that seems to be more elite and less in touch with reality with every passing year. And all of those are perfectly valid points to have been making in the 1990s and they remain equally valid now. It feels like this is trying to be more than one book at once and I feel it fails at being a success at any of them. It improved significantly, but still only manages an OK ( )
  Helenliz | Sep 13, 2022 |
Sue Townsend turns her gimlet eye both on the Royal family and on a resurgent British Labour government in this hilarious novel. An election has brought s radical administration into power that abolishes the monarchy and sends the Queen, Prince Phillip, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, and Prince Charles with Diana and the boys are to live in Council housing in a housing estate in the Midlands. Prince Philip immediately takes to his bed and fades away, but the Queen, Princess Anne, and remarkably Charles and Diana prove to be more adaptable leaning to live with government red tape, the necessity to make do, and the remarkable kindness of their neighbors.

While some reviewers have called this book dated, I find it oddly prescient. As the queen now teeters towards her century mark, the survival of the monarchy is very much in question. While they may not end up in a council flat, they may not be wearing crowns much longer. ( )
  etxgardener | Jul 28, 2022 |
Sprightly fantasy about what might happen if the British Royal Family was suddenly removed from power and reduced to living on the dole.

As the Queen, Prince Phillip, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne and her children, and Charles and Diana and their boys settle into Council housing in a dreary Midlands subdivision, surrounded by guards to keep the press and curiosity-seekers away, each member of the family faces their new estate in life with a different mindset. The neighbors' reactions also range from tongue-tied awe to puzzled acceptance, though the Queen's spoiled Corgi, Harris, causes more than one raised eyebrow.

The book has some fun moments, but Townsend loses points for the abrupt and easy-way-out ending. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | Aug 26, 2021 |
Excellent, funny and uplifting with great chacters Sue Townsend is a master writer of humour. ( )
  dolly22 | Jul 9, 2020 |
This book came highly recommended by a cousin with similar reading tastes to me. Perhaps I was expecting too much. First published in 1992, it was amusing and thought-provoking with a touch of clairvoyance about it, but it wasn't the laugh out loud read I was led to expect.
I loved the character Philomena Toussaint - I have know women like her - and almost shed a tear when I found out about the food stored on top of the cabinet.
( )
  Deborah_J_Miles | Jun 1, 2019 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (14 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Sue Townsendautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Brand, JoPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gardner, SarahIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Honeysett, MartinIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
McMillan, BenFotógrafoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Von Reiswitz, StephanieArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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The Queen was in bed watching television with Harris.
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A seminal comic masterpiece of our time, now published for the first time in Penguin. The Monarchy Has Been Dismantled When a Republican party wins the General Election, their first act in power is to strip the royal family of their assets and titles and send them to live on a housing estate in the Midlands. Exchanging Buckingham Palace for a two-bedroomed semi in Hell Close (as the locals dub it), caviar for boiled eggs, servants for a social worker named Trish, the Queen and her family learn what it means to be poor among the great unwashed. But is their breeding sufficient to allow them to rise above their changed circumstance or deep down are they really just like everyone else?

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