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The Post Graduate

By Anne Piper

Desperate British housewives…

Charity Robinson wants to feel liberated. Her three young daughters think she is a doormat, and happily treat her like one. Her husband, a well-heeled architect, is surely about to divorce her for one of his young secretaries, or at the very least entomb her in the country cottage he is building. That is, if it ever gets built – she can’t even get the builders to stop dragging their feet!

Determined to break out of the confines of her home, Mrs Robinson returns to college to take a course in social work. As a post graduate, she hopes to find independence, both emotionally and financially. Instead she finds a young and handsome French student, with whom – much to her amazement – she begins an affair.

But does the young man see her as a lover, or as a mother? She hardly knows, and finding herself on holiday in France, dining with the young man’s wealthy bachelor Father, only serves to muddy the waters…

With wry humour and snappy dialogue, Anne Piper sends up the middle-class, the meek and the mutinous in Charity Robinson’s tragicomic pursuit of independence.

Anne Piper was born in Llandaff, Cardiff. She studied English at Newnham College, Cambridge, where she met David Piper – the later novelist and director of the National Portrait Gallery, Fitzwilliam Museum and the Ashmolean – whom she married in 1945 after his release from a Japanese prisoner of war camp. A socialite and activist, she was a lead participator in the nuclear disarmament marches on Aldermaston in the ’50s and ’60s. Between 1952 and 1979, she published nine novels, one of which, Yes, Giorgio (1961) was made into a film starring Luciano Pavarotti. Her play, The Man-Eaters, was produced at the Bristol Old Vic in 1959. She died in 2017 at the age of 96.

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