A satirical thriller about a British adulterer in Russia from the award-winning author of The Bottle Factory Outing.
Middle-class, middle-aged, and middle-of-the-road lawyer Douglas Ashburner has never been much of a womanizer. So when he tells his wife he’s going on a fishing holiday, she takes his word for it. But instead of leaving London for Scotland, he departs from Heathrow to Moscow. Douglas is tagging along with his mistress, a sculptor named Nina St. Clair, on a tour of Russia arranged by the Soviet Artists’ Union. Accompanying them on the trip are two other artists: the impudent Bernard Douglas and the irritable Enid Dwyer.
Once in Moscow, Ashburner starts to wish he really had gone fishing. He promptly loses his luggage, the food is terrible, the art is horrific, and their tour guide is downright militant. But when Nina slips out to a last-minute lunch appointment and never returns, things go from bad to disastrous. Motives are unclear. Identities are mistaken. And as the group travels from the capital to Lenigrad to Tblisi, confusion, contradictions, and even hallucinations abound.
Ripe with the scathing wit, eccentric characters, and richly morbid atmosphere that have earned award-winning author Beryl Bainbridge both a cult following and mainstream praise, Winter Garden is a psychological thriller that turns an ironic lens on the social mores of modern life.