I’ve been meaning to read some Mollie Panter-Downes for a while now, and picked this one up while on a recent holiday, from a lovely independent bookshop in Hastings.
It’s a series of stories set throughout the war, bookended by two of Panter-Downes’ New Yorker sketches – the first written in the very early days of the war, the second immediately after D-Day.
And it’s terrific, the storest have real great, and also provide fascinating first hand insights into the stresses and strains of life in Britain at that time.
This novel has a “big reveal” about three or four chapters in, but I didn’t know that when I started to read it. So I spent a while thinking this was going to be about something quite different to the actual plot – when I eventually got there.
I’m not a huge fan of plot twists that are artificially built into a story, particularly when the only narrative reason for not mentioning something crucial is to keep the reader guessing.
But apart from that it turned out to be a fairly engaging story. Very, very sad.
Interesting, some original observations
A rather lovely pop-up book about the Titanic that I found on my brothers bookshelf.
An interesting story, very well written. But to my mind the narrative is all from the wrong perspective. It’s tells the story of how an intelligent but unremarkable man comes to terms with his responsibilities in suburban 50s America, all the while failing to notice his wife’s abject misery. I think I would have liked to read the story from the wife’s perspective, trapped by marriage and motherhood into a life she cannot stand. There was definite potential for some feminist polemic in the novel, but it would have needed a female author to bring off.
Best description I can come up with for this one is “Bring out yer dead Victorian”. Lots of poverty, squalor and sexual hypocrisy. Can’t say I really got it.
Very odd stories in comic book format. I quite liked it.