Read Jumping the Queue: A Novel by Mary Wesley Online


A virtuosic masterpiece of wit, humor, and psychological suspense from cherished author Mary WesleyMiddle-aged widow Matilda Poliport has decided to end her life. She puts her papers in order and gives away her beloved pet goose, Gus. She packs a picnic and heads off to the beach to drown herself.But her plans are interrupted by Hugh Warner—wanted by the police for bashingA virtuosic masterpiece of wit, humor, and psychological suspense from cherished author Mary WesleyMiddle-aged widow Matilda Poliport has decided to end her life. She puts her papers in order and gives away her beloved pet goose, Gus. She packs a picnic and heads off to the beach to drown herself.But her plans are interrupted by Hugh Warner—wanted by the police for bashing in his mother’s skull with a tea tray. Hugh has the same idea as Matilda: to end his own life. But Matilda foils Hugh’s suicide, inadvertently saving them both, and the unlikely pair finds itself launched on an adventure.The sparkling Jumping the Queue overflows with wit and wry humor as Mary Wesley examines the hidden costs of love and death....

Title : Jumping the Queue: A Novel
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781480450776
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 218 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Jumping the Queue: A Novel Reviews

  • Nicole
    2019-02-15 19:08

    A lonely fifty-something widow decides to commit suicide with dignity and one final repast to review her life. Matilda Poliport decided to end her life before she lost all resources but instead met people and became involved in events that pique her interest in life anew.Ms Wesley was 71 when she published this, her first novel for adults. (She was 57 when she published her first of three books for children) * Jumping the Queue (1983) * The Chamomile Lawn (1984) * Harnessing Peacocks (1985) * The Vacillations of Poppy Carew (1986) * Not That Sort of Girl (1987) * Second Fiddle (1988) * A Sensible Life (1990) * A Dubious Legacy (1992) * An Imaginative Experience (1994) * Part of the Furniture (1997) * Part of the Scenery (2001)- autobiography

  • Belle
    2019-01-25 00:12

    This is the first of Mary Wesley''s books that I have read. I prefer this to the Camomile Lawn because I found the ending of Jumping the Queue to be braver. Considering that this is a book about suicide I still found humour. I was impressed with the plot twists. This was a quick read and I was suitably impressed to move straight on to the Camomile Lawn. Before reading this book i had read Mary Wesley's biography and it helped to make this book all the more poignant. Jumping the Queue also helped soften my view of Mary Wesley considerably. I also knew from reading the biography that Mary Wesley had pet geese, which explains how she could write so tenderly of Gus. I give this book 4.5 star rating.

  • Mack
    2019-01-26 23:13

    This had a lot of important characters and was a story about Matilda, a widow in her fifties, who lives alone in England. She is so troubled by her husband's death she decides to tidy up her life and then planning the perfect suicide. This is foiled but reveals a lot of nasty secrets and many questions.

  • Laura Rittenhouse
    2019-01-25 01:12

    This book opens with the main character, Matilda, tidying her life (literally and figuratively) in preparation for what we soon learn is her planned suicide. A curious beginning but it manages to draw the reader in to Matilda's life and immediately we're interested.Matilda's perfect suicide is interrupted by some less-than-sensitive young people and then the whole thing is put on hold when a very interesting stranger crosses Matilda's path.Ms Wesley's enjoyable book leads the reader to question what really makes life worth living. Is it family, friends, lovers, home, variety, health...? The more she discovers about her own life, the more Matilda grows disenchanted with all of the above.An easy read, a compelling story, a heroine that could be anyone you know.

  • Andrea
    2019-01-28 16:49

    Mary Wesley's novel is a brilliant slice of life I've never known. If I can only be half as interesting as her characters when I get older I'll certainly be fascinating. She pulls the reader into the world of a young man on the run from the police and a recently widowed Matilda Poliport. The two meet when they are on a similar path to destruction. Their meeting changes the course of both of their lives. Mary Wesley had her first novel published at the age of seventy and thank God she did for the world would be a rather dull place without her insight into life.

  • Maria (Discuss It Book Group)
    2019-02-06 18:47

    Having already lost the main book vote once over at our book group on Google Groups, `Jumping the Queue` was entered in our second chance vote. It beat `A Discovery of Witches` and `The Levels` and was discussed on our site in January 2012.Overall, Discuss It Book Group rated this novel 3.7 out of 5, with the majority of the group having enjoyed it. It also generated a very interesting discussion.

  • Lemongrass
    2019-02-01 22:52

    It's a very clever author who can write a book nominally about suicide and make me like it. Suicide is a sad, desperate hateful act of despair in general and yet the heroine of this book takes her decision without letting me cast her down for it, even though she does it for selfish reasons. Spiritually questionable then, but emotionally gratifying.

  • Elizabeth Moffat
    2019-01-23 20:54

    What an interesting quirky little book! Probably not something I would read again, but I was intrigued by the main character Matilda and her reasons for being suicidal. Funny in points (Gus is probably my favourite character), with a surprising ending for me, I'm glad I read this book.

  • Karen Rittenhouse
    2019-02-15 18:56

    Loved this one from the beginning right through.A middle aged woman, her goose and a murderer are all brought together early on and meander together through this beautifully told story of what life can throw one's way.Very easy read. I wish it had lasted longer!

  • Des
    2019-02-07 00:45

    Never thought that matricide could be a fascinating topic,With honesty, irony and insightful wit, this little gem carves a realistic path through a whole raft of family issues.

  • April
    2019-02-12 18:14

    An oldie, but a goodie. Filled with surprises, amusing and well developed characters, and an air of mystery. I love all the books I've read so far by this author.

  • Hjwoodward
    2019-02-12 18:10

    LOVED this book, I couldn't put it down. I'd read 'The Chamomile Lawn' a few weeks back, and then I noticed I had this one on my shelf - must have bought it at a booksale a few months ago but had forgotten. Anyway, I think possibly the very beginning had put me off reading it, because Wesley doesn't explain that 'Gus' is a goose not a person, so possibly I read about two pages and thought I didn't find the protagonists interesting. Luckily, I picked it up again, realised Gus's identity and carried on, completely transported! Mathilda plans to kill herself, but is thwarted by a man whom she recognises as wanted by the police, a person who had killed his mother. I liked the way our author tied every loose end up very neatly, as I was keen on finding out why he'd done it. Wesley's style is witty, elegant and beautifully edgy which is less expected when you know she was born in 1912. I'm definitely on the lookout for more of her novels!

  • Jane
    2019-01-26 22:54

    I love Mary Wesley, and the fact that she was in her seventies when she wrote her novels surely contributes to their overall success. I'm sure that a mature mind filled with a long life of experiences is able to put things together in a way that a younger author might now. This book is about a woman who plans to commit suicide and is a little darker than her other stories--but it is also lots of fun with home truths to be found everywhere.

  • Nora
    2019-01-24 22:12

    I found the plot and characters to be startlingly twisted. This book is not for the timid despite its domestic setting. I read it in a single sitting.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-28 23:00

    Can honestly say I didn't expect the incest.

  • Olivia
    2019-02-01 18:01

    Interesting story and quick read. Would have loved more detail in the writing. I was left wondering throughout the book; I had to put my imagination to work.

  • Marlene Lewis
    2019-02-09 16:46

    Apart from the brilliant writing, quirky plots and razor sharp wit, you never quite know what you're in for when you pick up a Mary Wesley novel...she is a master of her craft. When Matilda's plan to jump the queue was abandoned, I found myself thinking, how lovely, a mature woman's romance with a younger man. It wasn't until Folly met his maker that I figured there was going to be an unexpected twist. And what a twist! No clandestine rendezvous in Prague, no Matricide returning with his tail between his legs proclaiming undying love, no brother confessing to murder and freeing-up Hugh to start a new life together with Matilda, none of the happy endings I had imagined. Instead, I was stunned and disturbed by Wesley's finale. It wasn't until I reflected on the story, after I got over the shock of the ending, that I realised why I felt so disturbed. Matilda was dealing with what many women have to face, the gradual loss of connectedness to life as we age. Children grow up - and these days, often move away, the husband dies (or maybe finds a new love interest), people we have known move on, or away...and we end up with pets for company. Admittedly, Matilda's solution to her predicament was extreme but it certainly wasn't far fetched. Mary Wesley was no stranger to loss and grief during her life and I suspect Jumping the Queue reflects Mary's own experience of grappling with matters of existential moment. I found this novel to be a brilliant read and certainly one that has provoked a great deal of thought and self-reflection. I would recommend this book to anyone brave enough to contemplate their later years.

  • Catherine Law
    2019-02-20 22:58

    Mary Wesley's first novel, charting a respectable middle-aged woman's attempts at suicide and her harbouring of a murderer on the run, is as eye-brow raising now as when it was first published in 1983. Then, at the age of seventy, the author experienced a renaissance, forging a sparkling career as an enchanting writer of eccentric and sometimes bleakly emotional stories, giving a new voice to an older generation. Memories of war-time, mis-matched couplings, jolly love triangles and the occasional dark hint of incest populate her stories. It seems that they don't make them like that any more... This author fascinates me as much as her characters, and her biography, Wild Mary (which she only allowed to be published after her death) is as intriguing as her novels, confirming that fact is sometimes stranger than fiction. If you're new to Mary Wesley, start with Jumping the Queue and work your way through (sadly just) nine more intelligent, gently humourous and unforgettable stories.

  • Margherita Dolcevita
    2019-01-20 23:49

    Due cose da sapere su questo romanzo.Due cose che avrei voluto sapere prima di leggerlo, ma che ho scoperto solo alla fine, leggendo la biografia dell'autrice e guardando all'inizio la data in cui il romanzo è stato pubblicato per la prima volta.1. l'autrice ha scritto questo libro che aveva 70 anni. Nata nel 1912 e morta nel 2002;2. il libro è dunque uscito in Inghilterra nel 1983.Non mi sembrano due sottigliezze, sono aspetti importanti.Una persona vede un libro mai sentito prima e pensa che sia stato scritto negli anni 2000. Vede il genere e pensa che l'età dell'autrice non superi gli anta.Il problema vero è che il fatto che questo romanzo abbia 30 anni e sia stato scritto da una donna anziana si sente, si percepisce indistintamente. Tutta la narrazione è ricoperta da una patina di vecchiume tipicamente inglese che rende le atmosfere stantie e i dialoghi simili a quelli di una pièce teatrale tremendamente noiosa.

  • Carrie
    2019-02-09 21:45

    My first reading of this author. Definitely a quirky book with many twists and turns, and a few shocking bits of dialogue and inner reflection along the way. Interesting satire of modern life, love, and relationships, with a who-done-it twist. I don't think I've ever read a novel where animals played such a role in terms of plot and character, and I really like the descriptions of Gus the goose and Folly, Hugh's dog. I can't say that I was rooting for Matilda, the main character, although the reader does come to understand her suicidal leanings, as her life of superficial relationships and failed family unfolds. Unlike some of the reviewers, I don't think I will reflect too much on this book, as it felt a bit too much like a "theatre of the absurd." But I would seek out the author's other books. Inspiring to see she wrote her first novel at 70!

  • Denise Flynn
    2019-01-22 00:07

    Suicide, murder, assisting a criminal and that's just to start with before we get to incest, deceit, rape and betrayal. My goodness thus isn't what I expected when I picked this book up at National Trust! It was an iterating read which left me feeling more than a little uncomfortable at times. Matilda is contemplating suicide in her 50s having been widowed 12 months or so previously, however her plans unravel with some unforseen interventions including that of a chance meeting with a man on the run accused of murdering his elderly mother. I won't ruin the story but it did make me chuckle at times, including at the end. I was initially going to give this 3 stars but upon reflection feel it deserves 4.

  •  Northern Light
    2019-02-08 00:56

    This book tells the story of Matilda who is interrupted in her suicide attempt when she comes across Hugh who is on the run from the police. Rather than hand him in she takes him home and there the adventures begin.I loved this book which you would think would be depressing given the subject matter but instead is actually very life-affirming in places and full of pathos. I loved the fact that it didn't feel the need to make the character nice but gave them weaknesses and foibles which seemed more realistic.My favourite character was Gus who always made his prescence known.A brilliant first book by this author at the age of 70.

  • Janine Flood
    2019-02-17 22:47

    Perhaps this book was far too British for my taste. I couldn't relate to any of the characters and the plot kept throwing me for a loop (well I liked that aspect, sort of, when it made sense to me). It is a dark dark tale of age and perception and I felt as ambivalent about it as the characters feel about their lives. Loved the ending. If typos annoy you, avoid the 1988 Penguin paperback, although I doubt any other version is proofed any better. Kudos to Ms. Wesley for writing this book when she was 70 years old.

  • Kelly Furniss
    2019-02-07 20:07

    I don't think I would have picked this book myself off the shelf but it was my bookclubs choice.I found the style and characters interesting and it had enough about it for me to want to read on andwant to delve in the characters life and to want to understand the why she was wanting to end it all.It's a book I'm glad I read as I don't think I would have discovered it without it been chosen for me.

  • Ron
    2019-02-06 20:57

    I've always had a fondness for the particular brand of English comic writing that Evelyn Waugh and Muriel Spark do so well. How I missed Mary Wesley is a complete mystery to me. To call her wit sharp is an understatement. Completely unsentimental, she roots out self-deception and posturing as if eradicating crabgrass from an otherwise pristine lawn. This book gives proof to the adage that the best comic writing deals with matters of life and death.

  • Angela Young
    2019-02-07 23:11

    This is a brave book (it was Mary Wesley's first published novel and it wasn't published until she was 70 which always gave me hope ... ). It starts with two attempted suicides and ends with a glimmer of hope. It's only a glimmer but it is at least a glimmer and I think it's the best of Wesley's books by a reading mile.

  • Virginia Walter
    2019-01-28 18:13

    Matty has carefully planned to die, but is interrupted when she stumbles across another would-be suicide. This middle-aged woman and young man -- who is on the run after killing his mother -- learn a lot about each other in the next few days. This is an odd book, full of odd plot twists and odd characters and odd situations. I liked it.

  • Clarabel
    2019-02-16 19:04

    Matilda prévoit de mettre fin à ses jours quand elle rencontre le type recherché par la police pour matricide. Sur un coup de tête, elle l'emmène dans son cottage isolé. S'ensuit un étonnant tête à tête, avec dialogues corrosif et révélations stupéfiantes. Une comédie cocasse et cynique, à l'humour noir explosif !

  • Sue
    2019-02-18 21:58

    This book was well-written, but that's all I can say in its favour. Matilda, the heroine, isn't a likeable character. She's full of strange ideas, disloyalties, and unmaternal feelings. It was apparently supposed to be funny but I found it dissatisfying and rather depressing. Not at all recommended.

  • Stacykurko
    2019-02-18 00:10

    This was a very different story, one that I think will resonate more with me later. I feel that its one of those books that while you are reading it, you are a little confused, but a week or a month later you are still thinking about it.