Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

The Birthday Boys

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Author  Beryl Bainbridge
Language  English
Publication date  5 December 1991
Country  United Kingdom
Genre  Historical novel
Publisher  Gerald Duckworth and Company

The Birthday Boys is a novel by Beryl Bainbridge. First published in 1991, this book tells the story of Captain Robert Scott's 1910-13 expedition to Antarctica.


Plot introduction

Five first-person narratives give different perspectives on the voyage: Petty Officer Taff Evans; the ship's scholar, medic, and biologist Dr. Edward Wilson; Robert Falcon Scott; Lieutenant Henry Bowers; and Captain Lawrence Oates each give their account of the hardships, the problems, and finally the failure of their endeavour: Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen beats them to the South Pole by a month.

Major themes

Beryl Bainbridge's book unites many features which have come to be seen as typical of Post modernism: The five tales differ greatly and it is clear that readers are expected to make up their own minds as to the extent of "truth" in historical accounts of the events.

Post-modernist literature often tries to subvert the assumption that there is a definite distinction between the imagined and the real. Traditionally, historiography is concerned with the domain of "truth" and "reality" and literature, on the other hand, deals with the "imaginative". The Birthday Boys blurs the borders between "fact" and "fiction".


The Birthday Boys Wikipedia