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Penelope Mortimer Biography

(1918–1999), The Pumpkin Eater, Daddy's Gone a'Hunting, Cave of Ice

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Edgar Mittelholzer Biography to Mr Norris Changes Trains

British novelist, born in Wales, the daughter of a clergyman, and educated at University College, London. Her novels tend to focus on destructive relationships between men and women, notably The Pumpkin Eater (1962), the story of a woman harried by the breakdown of her marriage, who obsessively uses motherhood to define her identity; it was made into a film with the screenplay written by Harold Pinter in 1964. Daddy's Gone a'Hunting (1958; published in the USA as Cave of Ice, 1959) tells of a mother and her daughter combining surreptitiously against the brutish ‘head’ of the family. In My Friend Says It's Bullet-Proof (1967) the protagonist, a woman, adjusts to life after a breast-cancer operation through a liaison with a man. Later novels are The Home (1971), The Handyman (1973), and Long Distance (1974). Her other books include Saturday Lunch with the Brownings (1960), a collection of short stories; Queen Elizabeth: A Life of the Queen Mother (1986); and her volumes of autobiography, About Time: An Aspect of Autobiography (1979) and About Time Too: 1940–1978 (1993). She was formerly married to John Mortimer.

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