I don't think I've ever read this Barbara Pym before, yet it's been sitting in my bookselves for at least nine years, because I know when I bought it. I call that irresponsible book-buying. It is a very good one, one of her 1950s London office worker novels with added anthropology. It's also about selfish … Continue reading Barbara Pym, Less Than Angels
Negroland is a memoir of growing up in the 1950s and 1960s as an upper-class black girl in Chicago. It’s about race, class, position, white socks, prejudice, hair oil and its stains, integration, politics, fabulous clothes, architecture, representation, style, standards and history. Jefferson mixes poetry and lyrics with historical extracts and retellings of events from … Continue reading Negroland, by Margo Jefferson
Over on Vulpes Libris I wrote about a book pyramid scheme, though which I received James Baldwin's classic, landmark novel of homosexual desire, Giovanni's Room. Reader, I had mixed views.
If you like E M Delafield’s comic classic Diary of a Provincial Lady, you’ll like Provincial Daughter, because it’s written by her daughter, R M Dashwood, and she’s even funnier. This week in the Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up, I’ve been reading her story of a doctor’s wife in the late 1950s in Berkshire, … Continue reading Daughter of Delafield: R M Dashwood’s Provincial Daughter
I’ve been waiting for a biography of Josephine Tey for years, and was so pleased when I saw that Sandstone Press were to publish this one. Henderson’s book gives a vast amount of new information (new to the casual but devoted Tey re-reader, but possibly not new to a proper detective fiction scholar), and depicts … Continue reading Jennifer Morag Henderson, Josephine Tey: A Life
Over on Vulpes Libris I've spent time wondering why Barbara Pym's novel Jane and Prudence (1953) is so unsatisfactory, despite its many magnificent moments. I love Pym's novels so much, yet this one is the slightly bruised apple, the rather unpleasant chocolate from the second layer in the box, the pair of tights with the hole in the … Continue reading Now posting on Vulpes Libris: Barbara Pym’s Jane and Prudence
Over on Vulpes Libris I've posted a review of Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn. I really liked it, but I wasn't quite convinced by how he covered the intimately feminine aspects of Éilis's experiences. Tóibín is very good on sea-bathing sex and shaving for bathing-suits, but he says nothing about menstrual blood or the fretting about white skirts that was … Continue reading Now posting on Vulpes Libris: Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn
I used to own Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado in my twenties, but I don’t think I ever read it properly, and it disappeared from sight in a house move. Oh how foolish I was, because – now that I’ve paid it proper attention - this stunning classic is superbly written and fizzing with good-natured life. I … Continue reading The glory of unmarried freedom in Paris, in Elaine Dundy’s The Dud Avocado