I took a while to get into this sturdy family saga: it was blocking the reading pile for weeks while I struggled to pay it proper attention. Then something clicked, and the peculiarities of The Fountain Overflows (1956) began to attract my attention. At first I thought that it was rather like Rose Macaulay’s Told … Continue reading Rebecca West, The Fountain Overflows
This is a very early E F Benson novel, published long before his Edwardian and post-First World War triumphs would appear, but it shows signs that the experienced Bensonite can recognise as an indication of future sublimity. It’s a Victorian novelette, that in any other hands would never have made it out of the cheap … Continue reading E F Benson, The Money Market
I must be one of the last people among the middlebrow fanciers to have read Beverley Nichols. He is perfect bedtime reading: light, frivolous, witty, of an earlier period so there won't be anything nasty in the woodshed, and unexpectedly moving. I first noticed his existence in a delightfully poisonous parody in Leonard Russell's immortal … Continue reading The shrine of Beverley Nichols: should one worship?
101 years after publication, this week's Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up is H G Wells’s novel Mr Britling Sees It Through. It was sold to a public who really did not know which way this war would go, in a strange category of literature, the in-war novel: neither pre-war, nor post-war. The author does not … Continue reading H G Wells: Mr Britling Sees it Through
Prepare for high-stakes romantic melodrama, early 1920s style. This Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up is about Dornford Yates' first two novels. Anthony Lyveden was published in 1921 and its sequel, Valerie French, appeared in 1923: they were written after he had made his name with several collections of brilliant and witty short stories … Continue reading Dornford Yates’s Gothic melodramas, in Anthony Lyveden & Valerie French
This time in the Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up I’m reading a novel of utter frivolity. It’s called Dodo’s Daughter, and is a sequel to the earlier and unforgettably frivolous novel of Edwardian society life, Dodo. Dodo is a ditzy lady, invented by that great chronicler of society silliness, E F Benson. Nowadays … Continue reading E F Benson and Dodo’s Daughter
This Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up is about the 1913 novel called Fortitude by Hugh Walpole, and you need fortitude to finish it, to be brutally honest. It is not a snappy two-hour read. On the other hand, if what you’re after is something for a long wet weekend on your own during which … Continue reading Hugh Walpole’s Fortitude