‘A beautiful portrayal of female friendship in all its frailties, contradictions and strengths’ RAYNOR WINN
‘Funny, perceptive and life-enhancing. I urge you to read it’ SARAH WINMAN
‘The perfect escape novel for our troubled times’ PATRICK GALE
It is 1950. In a devastating moment of clarity, Margery Benson abandons her dead-end job and advertises for an assistant to accompany her on an expedition. She is going to travel to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist.
Enid Pretty, in her unlikely pink travel suit, is not the companion Margery had in mind. And yet together they will be drawn into an adventure that will exceed every expectation. They will risk everything, break all the rules, and at the top of a red mountain, discover their best selves.
This is a story that is less about what can be found than the belief it might be found; it is an intoxicating adventure story but it is also about what it means to be a woman and a tender exploration of a friendship that defies all boundaries.
"I loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, but Miss Benson's Beetle is even better. The characters have a richness and depth that drew me into their story immediately. And what characters! This book is far more than an unexpected adventure, it's a beautiful portrayal of female friendship in all its frailties, contradictions and strengths. It made me think we all have the power to be so much more than we imagine when we cut the chains of expectation. I actually feel as if I've just lost a positive, powerful friend - I'm cut adrift, I haven't been so immersed in a novel for years"
"Rachel Joyce is a masterful storyteller. She has written the perfect book for these times. Funny, perceptive and life-enhancing. I urge you to read it."
"Miss Benson’s Beetle is the perfect escape novel for our troubled times, about a woman in emotional, professional and physical lockdown who breaks free to reclaim her true self. It’s as funny and nourishing as a classic Ealing comedy, as feminist as your formidable great-aunt."
"I fell in love with the unlikely friendship between two wildly different women, Enid Pretty and Margery Benson—their devotion to each other as they trek up and down mountains in someplace called New Caledonia is a hysterical delight. This novel made me realize how hungry I am for stories about women loving each other into being their best selves. Many thanks to Rachel Joyce for writing one."
"A beautifully written, extraordinary quest in which two ordinary, overlooked women embark on an unlikely scientific expedition to the South Seas. A classic tale of gripping adventure and friendship, told from the subversive and often hilarious female view."