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The Ransomes had been burgled. "Robbed," Mrs. Ransome said. "Burgled," Mr. Ransome corrected. Premises were burgled; persons were robbed. Mr. Ransome was a solicitor by profession and thought words mattered. Though "burgled" was the wrong word too. Burglars select; they pick; they remove one item and ignore others. There is a limit to what burglars can take: they seldom ta The Ransomes had been burgled. "Robbed," Mrs. Ransome said. "Burgled," Mr. Ransome corrected. Premises were burgled; persons were robbed. Mr. Ransome was a solicitor by profession and thought words mattered. Though "burgled" was the wrong word too. Burglars select; they pick; they remove one item and ignore others. There is a limit to what burglars can take: they seldom take easy chairs, for example, and even more seldom settees. These burglars did. They took everything. This swift-moving comic fable will surprise you with its concealed depths. When the sedate Ransomes return from the opera to find their Notting Hill flat stripped absolutely bare—down to the toilet paper off the roll, they face a dilemma: Who are they without the things they've spent a lifetime accumulating? Suddenly the world is full of unlimited and frightening possibility.


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The Ransomes had been burgled. "Robbed," Mrs. Ransome said. "Burgled," Mr. Ransome corrected. Premises were burgled; persons were robbed. Mr. Ransome was a solicitor by profession and thought words mattered. Though "burgled" was the wrong word too. Burglars select; they pick; they remove one item and ignore others. There is a limit to what burglars can take: they seldom ta The Ransomes had been burgled. "Robbed," Mrs. Ransome said. "Burgled," Mr. Ransome corrected. Premises were burgled; persons were robbed. Mr. Ransome was a solicitor by profession and thought words mattered. Though "burgled" was the wrong word too. Burglars select; they pick; they remove one item and ignore others. There is a limit to what burglars can take: they seldom take easy chairs, for example, and even more seldom settees. These burglars did. They took everything. This swift-moving comic fable will surprise you with its concealed depths. When the sedate Ransomes return from the opera to find their Notting Hill flat stripped absolutely bare—down to the toilet paper off the roll, they face a dilemma: Who are they without the things they've spent a lifetime accumulating? Suddenly the world is full of unlimited and frightening possibility.

30 review for The Clothes They Stood Up In

  1. 5 out of 5

    ❀Julie

    Had I not seen a friend add this recently I might have missed this little gem! Something about the cover and title drew me in, but when I saw its cute, compact size I couldn’t resist. This author is so funny. Some parts I found downright hysterical, but the humor is so dry you could almost miss it. And the characters, namely Mrs. Ransome, were a hoot. An English couple goes out to an opera one evening and comes home to find they’ve been completely stripped of their belongings. Everything! As the Had I not seen a friend add this recently I might have missed this little gem! Something about the cover and title drew me in, but when I saw its cute, compact size I couldn’t resist. This author is so funny. Some parts I found downright hysterical, but the humor is so dry you could almost miss it. And the characters, namely Mrs. Ransome, were a hoot. An English couple goes out to an opera one evening and comes home to find they’ve been completely stripped of their belongings. Everything! As the mystery unfolds we learn some surprising things about the couple, and how they react in different ways to their losses makes it interesting. It makes you think about how our possessions can shape us and what really matters in life. It was amusing and poignant, and so cleverly written. Can't wait to read more from this author.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Margitte

    So, I've read Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader, as well as The Lady In The Van already and came upon The Clothes They Stood Up In by chance. I had to read it. Alan Bennett is a must-read, like Shakespeare, Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Gabriel García Márquez, John Steinbeck, Willa Cather, Daphney Du Maurier, et al. They all have one highly interesting thing in common: they never acquired degrees in creative writing, in which identity politics became an indulgence in poisonous entertainment. You've r So, I've read Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader, as well as The Lady In The Van already and came upon The Clothes They Stood Up In by chance. I had to read it. Alan Bennett is a must-read, like Shakespeare, Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Gabriel García Márquez, John Steinbeck, Willa Cather, Daphney Du Maurier, et al. They all have one highly interesting thing in common: they never acquired degrees in creative writing, in which identity politics became an indulgence in poisonous entertainment. You've read one, you've read them all. A set menu of opinions which declare anything outside this box not only wrong, but also evil. Through millions of writings, a monolithic opinion devoid of maverick personalities are forced upon the bibliophile. The battle of opinions lost its venue. The reader is sadly the loser. Jane Austin is another superb example of classic penmanship defying the teachings of creative writing. Never got that degree. Never needed it. Mark Twain didn't either. And they were never intimidated/threatened by cultural appropriation. They wrote what they saw, and became masters at it. The same with all the Eastern European authors before communism switched off their creativity and pushed them into a comatose brain-death. Talking about cultural appropriation: Pearl S. Buck did not have that degree either. What about Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind. My word, wordsmiths par excellence they were. Reading a novella such as The Clothes They Stood Up In, brings that luvly bubbly back into my blood. It's like opening a good ole bottle of champagne, drinking the stars, as Dom Perignon exclaimed about the unwanted bubbles in his wine. Experiencing the word-art of a brilliant mind is like holding heaven in my hands. Unique, refreshing, a timeless wonder. The Clothes They Stood Up In is a quirky, funny and almost surreal novella, which simultaneously inspires a feeling of sadness and compassion while laughing out loud. The reader is left to decide what will happen after the ending. Mr. and Mrs. Ransome (quite appropriate last name) will be difficult to forget. She said they were robbed, he said they were burgled ( a play on the psychological, mentally and physical effect it had on them both). The ransom... a lifetime of living together told that part of the story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    Arriving home one night after the opera, the Ransomes find they have been burgled, the burglars leaving nothing whatsoever behind. The Ransomes’ relationship is an empty shell but this event leads Mrs Ransome to reconsider her life and to plan changes. Both are repressed, ordinary individuals leading separate lives within their marriage yet Bennett manages to make us laugh at them and pity them in equal measure. Not his finest work and not much more than a short story but this is classic Alan Be Arriving home one night after the opera, the Ransomes find they have been burgled, the burglars leaving nothing whatsoever behind. The Ransomes’ relationship is an empty shell but this event leads Mrs Ransome to reconsider her life and to plan changes. Both are repressed, ordinary individuals leading separate lives within their marriage yet Bennett manages to make us laugh at them and pity them in equal measure. Not his finest work and not much more than a short story but this is classic Alan Bennett and, along with most of the country, I love him! [I found this on the bookshelf of a holiday home we’re staying in this week. It was a gift ‘To Mum, Love Sue’. An odd choice, Sue, but I’m glad your Mum left it behind.]

  4. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    I’m fascinated by all of the deceit and lies that long-term relationships often accumulate around them. Not the big lies – You know, 'I’ve been having an affair for twenty years, darling' – but the little things that hardly matter, but we still try to keep hidden anyway. I’m also fascinated when both people know the other knows, but go on with the game anyway. Perhaps some relationships end because there are not enough 'little lies'. Hard to tell. So, there was little question I would like this. I’m fascinated by all of the deceit and lies that long-term relationships often accumulate around them. Not the big lies – You know, 'I’ve been having an affair for twenty years, darling' – but the little things that hardly matter, but we still try to keep hidden anyway. I’m also fascinated when both people know the other knows, but go on with the game anyway. Perhaps some relationships end because there are not enough 'little lies'. Hard to tell. So, there was little question I would like this. There is an honesty to Bennett’s writing that just about stops one’s breath. The stuff in this about the ‘dirty pictures’ for example. Although, to be honest, I don’t think I would like to be a character in one of his books if he didn’t like me. But I’m not going to tell you anything about this story – except that it is very clever, moving and funny. All good comedy should almost move us to tears. There be twists and even turns and to tell you anything about it might just give it all away which would just spoil it - it really would.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Story

    4.5 stars Mr. and Mrs. Ransome arrive home from the opera to find that everything they own, aside from the clothes on their back, has been stolen. While Mr. Ransome is irritated and angry, Mrs. Ransome reacts unexpectedly. "To have the carpet almost literally pulled from under her should, she felt, induce salutary thoughts about the way she had lived her life....it was up to her to make of it what she could. She would go to museums, she thought, art galleries, learn about the history of London; t 4.5 stars Mr. and Mrs. Ransome arrive home from the opera to find that everything they own, aside from the clothes on their back, has been stolen. While Mr. Ransome is irritated and angry, Mrs. Ransome reacts unexpectedly. "To have the carpet almost literally pulled from under her should, she felt, induce salutary thoughts about the way she had lived her life....it was up to her to make of it what she could. She would go to museums, she thought, art galleries, learn about the history of London; there were classes in all sorts nowadays--classes she could perfectly well have attended before they were deprived of everything they had in the world, except it was everything they had had in the world she felt, that had been holding her back. Now she could start." This was a charming little novella, full of moments of delight and insight. Though it only took me about an hour to read the entire story, it, like Bennett's An Uncommon Reader and The Lady in the Van, is one that will stay with me for a long while to come.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    A Christmas read, in one day. In fact I was listening to Bennett earlier in the day on Radio4 as I ironed (The Lady in the Van). He is a delightful writer, charming, funny and every word counts. Here a middle aged, middle class couple come back from the opera to find everything in their house gone. Not a normal burglary - even the toilet roll holder has been taken. Of course this sets off a chain of events that peels back the layers of the couple's marriage. I was captivated mostly all through, A Christmas read, in one day. In fact I was listening to Bennett earlier in the day on Radio4 as I ironed (The Lady in the Van). He is a delightful writer, charming, funny and every word counts. Here a middle aged, middle class couple come back from the opera to find everything in their house gone. Not a normal burglary - even the toilet roll holder has been taken. Of course this sets off a chain of events that peels back the layers of the couple's marriage. I was captivated mostly all through, an unusual denouement was extremely funny and revealing, the only thing that jarred a little was the wife's naivety. OK, it was great fun seeing her watch daytime TV for the first time and be puzzled by and then use the emotional language (people knew where they were coming from, they needed to open up etc), but really I'm sure she would have known what a 'business park' was, for example..

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    A while back I was given 3 Alan Bennett books, I'd never read anything by him before and started off with The Lady in the Van (because I had seen the film), next was Father Father Burning Bright (because it was the one in the middle) and whilst they were very good they were nothing compared to the 3rd book. The Clothes They Stood Up In is funny, quirky and quite absurd, if the twist was more sinister then it would have worked as an episode of The Twilight Zone. The Ransome's come back from the o A while back I was given 3 Alan Bennett books, I'd never read anything by him before and started off with The Lady in the Van (because I had seen the film), next was Father Father Burning Bright (because it was the one in the middle) and whilst they were very good they were nothing compared to the 3rd book. The Clothes They Stood Up In is funny, quirky and quite absurd, if the twist was more sinister then it would have worked as an episode of The Twilight Zone. The Ransome's come back from the opera to find they have been burgled, everything has been taken, the carpets, toilet paper, underwear, everything was gone....they even took the casserole that was in the oven! Totally bizarre, why would anybody do that and how could they do it without anybody noticing? The story then becomes a journey of self discovery for Mrs Ransome as she feels lighter having been released from a lifetime of clutter she finds joy in rebuilding her life, finding new shops and changing her character of talking to people far different from her. It is a rather sweet little book, plenty of laughs and it kept me interested with the various plot twists trying to figure what was going on. I was surprised to find this was Bennett's first book, a hell of a start to his career. Blog review: https://felcherman.wordpress.com/2020...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    I picked this book up because I loved Alan Bennett's book "The Uncommon Reader." This is a charming British novella involving a bizarre robbery and a befuddled middle-aged English couple. It doesn't have the payoff that Uncommon Reader does, but it's still a pleasant read. I picked this book up because I loved Alan Bennett's book "The Uncommon Reader." This is a charming British novella involving a bizarre robbery and a befuddled middle-aged English couple. It doesn't have the payoff that Uncommon Reader does, but it's still a pleasant read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    The Ransomes come home from the opera to find that absolutely everything, down the the carpets, toilet paper and holder, to the oven containing the roast has been taken from the carpet. Nothing is left but the bare floor, the toilet, sink and bathtub sans shower curtain. No doubt this is funny to some, but given that humour is subjective, not for everyone. I found it not very funny at all. More than that by the end I wondered why it had to end just the way it did. So, if you are an Alan Bennett f The Ransomes come home from the opera to find that absolutely everything, down the the carpets, toilet paper and holder, to the oven containing the roast has been taken from the carpet. Nothing is left but the bare floor, the toilet, sink and bathtub sans shower curtain. No doubt this is funny to some, but given that humour is subjective, not for everyone. I found it not very funny at all. More than that by the end I wondered why it had to end just the way it did. So, if you are an Alan Bennett fan, by all means read this, but it was not my cup of tea.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christina Stind

    We gain a lot of our identity from the things we surround us with, especially the things in our homes. If suddenly all our possessions are taken from us, what then? This is what happens to the Ransoms, a middleage couple, who when arriving home from the opera discover that all they have is the clothes they wore that night - everything in their appartment is gone. Mrs. Ransom comes to view this as a chance for a new beginning - she starts to feel that all the old stuff was holding her back. Mr. Ran We gain a lot of our identity from the things we surround us with, especially the things in our homes. If suddenly all our possessions are taken from us, what then? This is what happens to the Ransoms, a middleage couple, who when arriving home from the opera discover that all they have is the clothes they wore that night - everything in their appartment is gone. Mrs. Ransom comes to view this as a chance for a new beginning - she starts to feel that all the old stuff was holding her back. Mr. Ransom takes it as an opportunity to get new and better things. But then they get it all back in a most surprising way ... and what then? I liked the premise of this short book a lot and I think the author nailed it with this quote: "Lots of people could give up things /.../; what they couldn't do without was shopping for them." (page 60) - I think that's so true, a lot of us are addicted to buying. I also like how he portrayed the couple - the small secrets that they thought they kept so well from each other but that the other had always known anyway. And in a lot of ways, the ending was very appropriate and couldn't have been any different - but still I felt something missing in the story and that's the reason for the 3 star rating. Maybe it should have been a bit longer (it's only 161 small pages) ... But an interesting short read anyways.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Classic reverie

    I am adding my reviews several years later, even though I did not care for this book, it will never be forgotten because while I was reading and finished, the next day I was told my brother died in an accident the day before. So it sticks in my mind. I tend to read older/classic books but do occasionally read more modern books which I have come across some I really love but The Clothes They Stood Up In by British writer Alan Bennett was not one of them. It was a creative story about a middle age I am adding my reviews several years later, even though I did not care for this book, it will never be forgotten because while I was reading and finished, the next day I was told my brother died in an accident the day before. So it sticks in my mind. I tend to read older/classic books but do occasionally read more modern books which I have come across some I really love but The Clothes They Stood Up In by British writer Alan Bennett was not one of them. It was a creative story about a middle age couple whose furniture was stolen while they were at the opera. They come home bewildered & the mystery is solved at the end of the story. The Ransomes are a couple that are different as night and day yet they have enough commonality to live their life in lack luster existence until the robbery took place. I did have trouble with some crass bodily humor & some too explicit descriptions which were sprinkled through out this short story. The authors play on American daytime TV & crisis counseling were quite humorous. I would not say I would not recommend this book to all but if you are not into certain details, I would say tread cautiously.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A delightful novella that I listened to - read by the author which doesn't always mean it will be good but in this case it was perfect. There is a lot packed into this tiny book. I laughed out loud several times (I am a sucker for the scatological…I have the sense of humor of a 13 year old boy) and yet, the story also made me think about bigger things. How easy it is to get into a rut and not even see it, how quickly your possessions become your life if you let them. What would you do if you did A delightful novella that I listened to - read by the author which doesn't always mean it will be good but in this case it was perfect. There is a lot packed into this tiny book. I laughed out loud several times (I am a sucker for the scatological…I have the sense of humor of a 13 year old boy) and yet, the story also made me think about bigger things. How easy it is to get into a rut and not even see it, how quickly your possessions become your life if you let them. What would you do if you didn't have so many things? How would you define yourself? This little gem is worth the few hours it takes to read/listen.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    This book starts with the bizarre robbery of all the contents of a married couple’s apartment. When Mr and Mrs Ransome call the police it’s not to declare the theft of a their valuables, but the loss of everything they owned which they weren’t carrying on themselves. EVERYTHING. From the armchairs, to the telephone, to the toilet brushed, to the oven with the casserole inside. Additionally, the mysterious affair was enriched by the hilarious British humor, Bennett knows how to keep the reader en This book starts with the bizarre robbery of all the contents of a married couple’s apartment. When Mr and Mrs Ransome call the police it’s not to declare the theft of a their valuables, but the loss of everything they owned which they weren’t carrying on themselves. EVERYTHING. From the armchairs, to the telephone, to the toilet brushed, to the oven with the casserole inside. Additionally, the mysterious affair was enriched by the hilarious British humor, Bennett knows how to keep the reader entertained.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    Book blurb: When the sedate Ransomes return from the opera to find their Notting Hill flat stripped absolutely bare—down to the toilet paper off the roll, they face a dilemma: Who are they without the things they've spent a lifetime accumulating? Suddenly the world is full of unlimited and frightening possibility. The physical book is a delight to hold - so tiny that it could fit into your pocket - it reminded me of books for little hands. It is hard not to be drawn in by the premise of this stor Book blurb: When the sedate Ransomes return from the opera to find their Notting Hill flat stripped absolutely bare—down to the toilet paper off the roll, they face a dilemma: Who are they without the things they've spent a lifetime accumulating? Suddenly the world is full of unlimited and frightening possibility. The physical book is a delight to hold - so tiny that it could fit into your pocket - it reminded me of books for little hands. It is hard not to be drawn in by the premise of this story, and then to find yourself quite in like with Mrs. Ransome. A charming, humorous story with some surprising depth, this is a quick, one sitting read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Roberta

    Un capolavoro di comicità, un romanzo esilarante che racconta la storia di una coppia dalla vita spenta che si ritrova la casa svaligiata fin nei minimi particolari. ‘I take it you’ll want counselling,’ said the constable. ‘What?’ ‘Someone comes along and holds your hand,’ said the sergeant, looking at the window. ‘Partridge thinks it’s important.’ ‘We’re all human,’ said the constable. ‘I’m a solicitor,’ said Mr Ransome. ‘Well,’ said the sergeant, ‘Perhaps your missus could give it a try. We like to Un capolavoro di comicità, un romanzo esilarante che racconta la storia di una coppia dalla vita spenta che si ritrova la casa svaligiata fin nei minimi particolari. ‘I take it you’ll want counselling,’ said the constable. ‘What?’ ‘Someone comes along and holds your hand,’ said the sergeant, looking at the window. ‘Partridge thinks it’s important.’ ‘We’re all human,’ said the constable. ‘I’m a solicitor,’ said Mr Ransome. ‘Well,’ said the sergeant, ‘Perhaps your missus could give it a try. We like to keep Partridge happy.’

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    Never heard of this book, never heard of this author, but what a lovely discovery. A tiny shiny comedic gem found by browsing our library catalog for humorous fiction. Our library is actually far from reliable when it comes to accurately categorizing books, occasionally creating for hilarious results, but this one was right on the money. I read the first paragraph in the description and was instantly hooked. This book is amusing in a distinctly British way, but if you’re into that sort of thing, Never heard of this book, never heard of this author, but what a lovely discovery. A tiny shiny comedic gem found by browsing our library catalog for humorous fiction. Our library is actually far from reliable when it comes to accurately categorizing books, occasionally creating for hilarious results, but this one was right on the money. I read the first paragraph in the description and was instantly hooked. This book is amusing in a distinctly British way, but if you’re into that sort of thing, this tale of possessions gained and gone should prove to be very amusing indeed. I was thinking maybe it would be something obscure and metaphoric, but there is actually a perfectly coherent plot here and (stunningly so) a perfectly reasonable explanation to how the flat of a very proper middle aged British couple gets to be completely burgled. Every single possession gone, they suddenly find themselves adrift in a brave new world…if they can take it. I’ve always believed that the things you own own you. By that logic, the most real of all freedoms is to be found in going…thing free. And the opposite side of that coin is that of course we are living in a material world and we are all material girls/boys/otherwise. So this book very cleverly plays with these themes. Mrs. Ransome, for she is the real protagonist of the story, finds the sort of freedom she forgot existed, the lightness of being that comes from not being weighed down by a lifetime of accumulated possessions that presuppose a certain lifetime set customs and rituals. In the end it’s down to her to decide which of the lives she prefers. The book has such quaintness to it that without the mention of modern technology it would have been nearly impossible to date. And the subject of it is quite timeless also, really, the very nature of our relationship with materialism. And enlightening delight of whatever the vice versa of that would be, such a smart small book, deceptively so. It’s kind of like a modern fable, moral included. I loved the subtleties, how cleverly the author explained the burglary, the ending. All that in a volume so slim, it only took about 60 minutes to get through…awesome. What a great find. Recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)

    Mr. and Mrs. Ransome have been robbed, no burgled, robbed happens to a person, burgled to a premise. Of course this couldn't have been normal thieves, because they took everything. Stove with dinner in it, to toilet paper. Nothing is left and the Ransome's do not know what to do. They spent their life accumulating stuff that never was really enjoyed or served much purpose, except for Mr. Ransome's music equipment that he used to listen to Mozart, which his wife wasn't privy to due to the large h Mr. and Mrs. Ransome have been robbed, no burgled, robbed happens to a person, burgled to a premise. Of course this couldn't have been normal thieves, because they took everything. Stove with dinner in it, to toilet paper. Nothing is left and the Ransome's do not know what to do. They spent their life accumulating stuff that never was really enjoyed or served much purpose, except for Mr. Ransome's music equipment that he used to listen to Mozart, which his wife wasn't privy to due to the large headphones he was known to sport. But while the abrupt change in their life seems to serve no purpose for Mr. Ransome, Mrs. Ransome acquires a new sense of control. Being allowed to make buying decisions, going to stores she never would have thought to enter in Notting Hill, watching day time television. Things are slowly shifting due to the cataclysmic event and then one day everything changes again and everything is as it was, but only now it doesn't seem the same. In this brief yet odd little novella by Alan Bennett I was hoping to achieve the same sense of joy and elation I had when reading The Uncommon Reader. I did not. Such wonderful books are rare and far between and I should not have expected so much of his first book. I found the characters unlikable and unrelatable for the most part. Mrs. Ransome had some humanity, but Mr. Ransome was a bully and his new found porn obsession quite unsettling. At one point, when they located their furniture, I was hopeful. The roguish Martin, who would totally be played by DeanLennox Kelly in the tv adaptation, brought a life and interest to the story. But his departure took the life away. I thought perhaps this brief contact would bring some life into Mrs.Ransome, but sadly it did not. It only brought about wistful remembrances of Martin on Mrs. Ransome's part, as well as my own. I would like to have read Martin's story. Instead we are left with two hollow people who have an abrupt and surprising end which, while I didn't see it coming, left me liking the novella even less. If you're looking for mild British entertainment with not much depth, try this. If you want extreme British entertainment with loads of depth, pick up Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Martyn Stanley

    It's a 4.5 really. Bennett writes wonderful, interesting characters. They are strange, almost caricature-like people. I can't describe, them perhaps a distilled middle-class, childless couple in their fifties. Mr and Mrs Ransome are the sort of people who have net curtains and lace table-cloths. The basic premise and main plot device of this book is fascinating to behold. If YOU arrived home one day to find your home completely emptied, down to the bare floor boards - how would you cope? How wou It's a 4.5 really. Bennett writes wonderful, interesting characters. They are strange, almost caricature-like people. I can't describe, them perhaps a distilled middle-class, childless couple in their fifties. Mr and Mrs Ransome are the sort of people who have net curtains and lace table-cloths. The basic premise and main plot device of this book is fascinating to behold. If YOU arrived home one day to find your home completely emptied, down to the bare floor boards - how would you cope? How would you feel that first night when you had to sleep on a hard bare wooden floor, in a curtain-less room, wearing your suit? Bennett's exploration of emotions and thoughts during this event is very, very readable. The first 50% of the book is by far the most enjoyable, to the point that I'd read the start twice but maybe not bother re-reading the ending. The outcome of the mysterious burglary is at first satisfying, but the explanation for it wasn't. I can understand what Bennett was trying to do with the ending and the point he was trying to make - but it wasn't really satisfying. It was one of those empty, hollow endings that left you feeling 'What!?' Still, a great, great little read. I docked half a star, because I didn't connect with the ending - it didn't work for me. It's very enjoyable and certainly worth reading though, if nothing else because it's short enough to read in one or two sittings.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa RV

    I picked up this book at the library based in it's diminutive size & the cover art. I wanted a quick, funny read & it served that purpose. But it was also more. It was clever, insightful, & very readable at the same time. Having never read Alan Bennett, I'm so glad I picked up another of his ("The Uncommon Reader") at the same time. I picked up this book at the library based in it's diminutive size & the cover art. I wanted a quick, funny read & it served that purpose. But it was also more. It was clever, insightful, & very readable at the same time. Having never read Alan Bennett, I'm so glad I picked up another of his ("The Uncommon Reader") at the same time.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Max

    This is not my kind of book! Sooo no rating.....It would be minus 3 stars.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lorri Steinbacher

    Read on the strength of the cover and loved the premise. The Ransome's come home from the opera to find their apartment burgled, and not just burgled but emptied of every single item, even the roast in the oven. The whys and wherefores are interesting, but even more interesting is what the event does to the Ransome's staid marriage. Read on the strength of the cover and loved the premise. The Ransome's come home from the opera to find their apartment burgled, and not just burgled but emptied of every single item, even the roast in the oven. The whys and wherefores are interesting, but even more interesting is what the event does to the Ransome's staid marriage.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    This is a quirky little book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marina

    Funny, but I guess funny books are not really my cup of tea.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jason Wilson

    When a burglary strips an upper middle class couple of all they own it sparks a journey of self discovery and catharsis . Not Bennett’s finest work but interesting.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Annette C

    Very ODD and adorable. Who is Alan Bennett? He's incredibly clever. https://www.jtv.com/checkout/review.jsp Very ODD and adorable. Who is Alan Bennett? He's incredibly clever. https://www.jtv.com/checkout/review.jsp

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kariss Ainsworth

    Pretty enjoyable

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    My mother gave me this book many years ago after she read it. It might be a small book, but the story inside of it is far more complex than you might think. I enjoyed reading it near two decades ago. I recently took it down from the shelf and decided to give it another read. It might be the passage of years, but I took in the book a completely different way. While I expect that from longer books I didn't expect it from this compact little book. I enjoyed reading it just as much as I did the firs My mother gave me this book many years ago after she read it. It might be a small book, but the story inside of it is far more complex than you might think. I enjoyed reading it near two decades ago. I recently took it down from the shelf and decided to give it another read. It might be the passage of years, but I took in the book a completely different way. While I expect that from longer books I didn't expect it from this compact little book. I enjoyed reading it just as much as I did the first time. I wonder if I shouldn't return it to my mother so that she can enjoy it over again. Filled with a light tone and humor that goes from charming to dark, this story of a couple finding themselves with just themselves will gently tickle your funny bone.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Clio

    Fantastic. Short, so so sharp. Very distinctive authorial voice used superbly. This is a little diamond bright comedy short. Do you possibly need to understand a certain amount of context to enjoy? Wonder how it seems to non-British? Is it too much of an in-joke?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dane Cobain

    I mean, this is just one-liners galore. But it’s more than that, it’s a satisfying short story at the same time. This is my first Alan Bennett book, but I adored it. It was funny, gripping and just generally entertaining. The story line was quirky – a couple comes home to find that literally everything in their house has been stolen – and while the writing style was almost cliche, it worked perfectly alongside Bennet’s witticisms and humorous dialogue. Easy to read, and plenty of fun too.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This is the first Bennett book that I have actually read rather than listened to and this little novella is a charming little read. The Ransomes are a middle-aged friendless, childless couple who have settled into a rather dull routine who are unable to even communicate which one another. The Ransome's return from a night at the opera to find that they have been 'burgled. Robbed.' by very thorough thieves who stole absolutely everything in their flat down to floorboards, even cutting the telephon This is the first Bennett book that I have actually read rather than listened to and this little novella is a charming little read. The Ransomes are a middle-aged friendless, childless couple who have settled into a rather dull routine who are unable to even communicate which one another. The Ransome's return from a night at the opera to find that they have been 'burgled. Robbed.' by very thorough thieves who stole absolutely everything in their flat down to floorboards, even cutting the telephone wires at the wall. As they come to terms with the theft the Ransomes realise that they are owned by their possessions rather than the other way around. Mr Ransome wants to merely replace their possessions and return to their former ways but Mrs Ransome starts to have little adventures like visiting a Pakistani grocers and a thrift shop as she slowly re-enters the broader world. The ending is perhaps a little predictable but for me this did not spoil the overall story. I read this book in one go and enjoyed it, the prose was beautiful, clipped and without an unneccessary word.

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