Union Street

An alternate cover of this ISBN can be found here.Vivid, bawdy and bitter The Times , Pat Barker s first novel shows the women of Union Street, young and old, meeting the harsh challeges of poverty and survival in a precarious world There s Kelly, at eleven, neglected and independent, dealing with a squalid rape Dinah, knocking on sixty and still on the game Joanne, nAn alternate cover of this ISBN can be found here.Vivid, bawdy and bitter The Times , Pat Barker s first novel shows the women of Union Street, young and old, meeting the harsh challeges of poverty and survival in a precarious world There s Kelly, at eleven, neglected and independent, dealing with a squalid rape Dinah, knocking on sixty and still on the game Joanne, not yet twenty, not yet married, and already pregnant Old Alice, welcoming her impending death Muriel helplessly watching the decline of her stoical husband And linking them all, watching over them all, mother to half the street, is fiery, indomitable Iris.
Union Street An alternate cover of this ISBN can be found here Vivid bawdy and bitter The Times Pat Barker s first novel shows the women of Union Street young and old meeting the harsh challeges of poverty an

  • Title: Union Street
  • Author: Pat Barker
  • ISBN: 9780860682837
  • Page: 143
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Union Street”

    1. Different women facing different life struggles and the only thing they have in common is the street they all occupyThis was dark and it was really depressing to see what these women are going through my god!! Pat Barker took me there, she didn't hold out the punches when it came to discussing the subject matter. It was realistic and that made it even scarier, it was fascinating to see how different individuals live their day to day lives.The book in itself reads like a short story compilation [...]

    2. Rauwihardoi en intensworden de levensverhalen van zeven meisjes/vrouwen, woonachtig in een afbraakbuurt van een Noordengelse industriestad, verteld. Levensecht en met humor doorspekte verhalen, raken je recht in je ziel. Aanrader!!

    3. These are the stories of eight women, all of whom lived on Union Street. Though I had hard times when my children were young, I never had it as hard as the women on Union Street. Her last house had had a bathroom and an indoor lavatory, with a little strip of green out the back. She'd had a bay window in the front room, too.You take these things for granted till you haven't got them. The descent to Union Street was bitter.Some of the women had moved up to Union Street from Wharfe Street, the wor [...]

    4. Union Street is absolute gold. says that Pat Barker shopped this novel around to publishers for 10 years and was rejected by all until she finally sent it to Virago Press who knew the value of an honest book about women. I think the other publishers rejected it because the women and girls in these inter connected stories don't act the way publishers assume we want them to act. A case in point is Iris, who I guess is the character on whom the movie Stanley and Iris is based, but very loosely. Th [...]

    5. This was like Dubliners, if Dubliners was written in the 1980s about English women living in poverty in the 1970s, and it didn't suck. Ahaha, Joyce fans, shoot me now. But there's no love lost between me and James Joyce.Moving on it was very interesting structurally. The writing was peppered with some colloquial syntax/diction, but not so much that it overpowered the story - it wasn't like trying to read Trainspotting (which I had to read out loud to myself). But the structure - it told the stor [...]

    6. I had a hard time deciding between three and four stars on this, but ended up settling for the latter. Why? Well, this is an extremely captivating and genuine-feeling book about the struggles of seven very different working-class women. Even though their background is very different from the place I come from, I could empathize with their feelings very well and bring up sympathy even for the most "difficult" character. At times it was hard to read though, not even for the subject matter (which I [...]

    7. This was one of the toughest books I've ever read. Actually I didn't finish it, I found it too depressing. I come from the North East and am old enough to just about recognise the general street scene portrayed but I would have had only glimpses of the lives of working class women of the era. Looking at it with political spectacles on, while I'm not doubting that there are women with lives like that nowadays, it felt like a bygone era and I felt like a voyeur. In contrast, in the same week I rea [...]

    8. Excellent book. The story is about a half a dozen women living in the same street. All are at a different stage in their lives & consequently their problems are different. From the young teenager who is raped, to the old lady who is very sick & expects to die soon. Pat Barker seems to get inside the minds of all of her heroines & has an easy stile that is very readable.

    9. I don't like the "word" "meh" but I'm finding myself wanting to use it in this review."Union Street" is the second Pat Barker book I've read, and probably the last. So much of it felt like a rehash/rework of "Blow Down Your House" which I liked pretty well. I understand other books by Barker are different, but for right now I just don't care to investigate them.Barker has a message, of sorts, but whatever it is is not very startling and it gets across pretty quickly, so that the rest of the book [...]

    10. A bleak but moving book. Pat Barker's first novel explores the lives and struggles of a group of women in the same ordinary street. Each chapter tells the story of one woman, and these stories are loosely linked.

    11. I wasn't expecting this book. Written in 1982 it is perhaps one of the most modern of the Virago modern classics, and completely different in tone and in subject from the rest.This book is about the residents of Union Street. Seven interlinked stories about seven residents of the working class street located near a cake factory, a railway, an engineering works and a river. I can't say when the book is set, but nowhere is there mention of a television, or radio. No-one owns a car, and baths are m [...]

    12. One of my all time favourites read and re-read. Very gritty and extremely atmospheric, it stays in the mind a long time. The themes are very adult and the depiction of hard, working class characters in a deprived industrial area leaves nothing to the imagination. Elements of the story are very disturbing but addressed in a way as to be thought evoking. The 'Union Street' of the title may be the North East (Teesside I guess, around 1972) but this is no Catherine Cookson. I understand this is Pat [...]

    13. Although best known for her wonderful 'Regeneration' trilogy and 'Life Class' novels, 'Union St' is her first. Published in 1982, it tells the stories of 7 women living interlinked lives in industrial Union St. These vividly characterised working class women have little beauty or joy in their lives, but they survive all the ugliness of poverty, loveless sex and illness, without a shred of self-pity and Barker, thankfully, never sentimentalises. Difficult to choose the most impressive; probably I [...]

    14. A well written gritty book telling the story of 7 women who all live in poverty in the same street in the 1970. Each has their own tale to tell starting with a young girl who is brutally raped, each character getting older each time and ending with the sad decline and death of Old Alice, whose impending death and fear of going into a home drives her to take matters into her own hands. A great read!

    15. To be honest, I only enjoyed the first chapter. It seemed shocking and innovative and I wouldn't have minded to read an entire book about Kelly. But her story was disrupted by other stories, and then the book just became repetitive. There was so much over-the-top abuse and other nasty things that the shocking effect simply wore off. Maybe that was the intention? To show how blind we are to the problems that others have to face? I don't know. I was just left feeling bored and I don't know what el [...]

    16. Pat Barker has never disappointed me. I've read some so-so novels recently and this one was like a balm which, given the subject matter, might seem a strange thing to say. Yes it was bleak but the characters were so well drawn and it was beautifully written - I particularly liked Alice's story. I can't believe it was her first novel.

    17. Well-written novel glimpsing the struggles of seven working-class women, living on the same street, at different stages of their lives. Set in the 1970s. Well-developed characters. Gritty and raw and a book I would recommend.

    18. Quite possibly the most disturbing book I've ever read, Union Street makes up for its bleakness and tales of disparity and poverty with gorgeous moments of hope and triumph.

    19. Who wants to read a book about working class women and girls who live in squalor in the back avenues of an industrial city north east of London? Well, I do. See, my hand is raised? Still I’m not everybody. Hollywood couldn’t handle what Barker was trying to convey in the pages of this book because in 1990 they released it as a sweet romance story called Stanley & Iris, starring Jane Fonda and Robert De Niro. In the film Fonda and De Niro play two working class individuals who are at a st [...]

    20. This book tells the story of a street and the women who live on it, in a northern English town in the 1980s. Barker constructs a network of relationships between and within the households on Union Street, with each woman dealing with her own difficulties and hardships behind closed doors. More than anything this is a book about the life-stages of the female body - from the first period or childbirth to the marriage bed and later, the injustice of ageing. In each chapter she manages to narrate an [...]

    21. this was pat barker's first novel and it shows that her writing talent has always been consistent! she conjures up union street through the cleverly interweaving stories of 7 women who live there, each one stands alone as an excellent short story in its own right and they provide a chronology of womanhood, starting with 11 yr old Kelly and going through first pregnancy, third birth, marital problems, issues of sex and money including poverty, rape, prostitution and abortion, until the elderly Al [...]

    22. This is a fantastic book: gritty but sensitive, alarming but also oddly familiar. Organised into seven chapters, each of which deals with a snapshot of the life of a different woman who lives in Union Street (set in the Industrial North East), Pat Barker's book gives a detailed, poignant account of each their struggles. Generally it is quite a depressing read, and some of the scenes describing sexual or physical violence, though brief, can be harrowing: however I could not put this book down as [...]

    23. I first discovered the works of Pat Barker when reading her Regeneration trilogy which dealt with the difficulties of troops in WW1 suffering from the then unknown problem of shell-shock.This book is set sometime in the 1950s/60s (I think, it may even be the early 70's) and deals with the harsh realities of surviving in a grim industrial city in the North East of England. It focuses mostly on the women and how they survive and function, keeping both themselves and their families going through on [...]

    24. I picked this up on a whim I was looking for something to fill the gap left by 'Call the Midwife.' What you have here is a story about love, poverty and misfortune that does sit with you even after you have put it down. There are women and young girls in the stories that you just think what are you doing but then it was all a different time and peoples attitudes where so different. It is very much of its time and as a debut novel was really well written, the characters, setting and accents where [...]

    25. The style of this book reminded me very much of Maeve Binchy - individual chapters dealing with separate but interwoven characters all living on Union Street. But it is Maeve Binchy with a real edge. Fantastic writing, a great piece of its time - the mid 1970s - dealing with a generation of women who stayed with their husbands for the sake of the children, barely tolerated sex and accepted the occasional beating. Their daughters are more savvy (or so we are led to believe). I had only read the R [...]

    26. I read The Regeneration Trilogy some years ago and loved it. When I realised Union Street was Pat Barker's first book, I had to read it. So different! At first, I thought she was writing about the 30's but it seems some were living that kind of life in the 70's!It isn't a book about heroic women. It's about real women warts and all and all the more moving for it. The book could have been disjointed. I personally don't like books that devote chapters to different characters but this flowed beauti [...]

    27. Trying to think of better adjectives than meh but none really come to mind. Between 2 and 3 stars but being stingy because I did find it a bit crass. On one hand I did enjoy the insight into another world - of impoverished 60s England - and the mix of characters presented, but I also want exactly gripped, and I didn't like how you couldn't get to know the characters due to the shifting viewpoint Mind you, I'd have gotten fed up with the voices of most of the characters so I can't be too sniffy a [...]

    28. In a way this is almost as bleak as Regeneration in that it seems to cover a lot of grim areas of the characters' lives. There's something about the way that she describes things that stops it from seeming manipulative or drifting too much into despair though so it ends up being less heavy to read than I expected from the first couple of chapters. It's also pretty impressive how much of an image of the characters you get from these small snippets of their lives. That did make me wish this book w [...]

    29. I first read Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy, the third book, The Ghost Road, won the Mann Booker Prize. Her descriptions of war should be required reading at the military academies, and for the populous at large. Union Street is her first novel and it is magnificent. It is the story of working class women living on a particular street in industrial England in the 70s. The circumstances and the dialog capture the pain of being just above the lowest of the low. The novel is dark but does offer [...]

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