Friday, October 12, 2007
The rain is sheeting down and has been all day, sometimes with accompanying thunder, so the shop's been mostly customerless. It being Friday, I've put my feet up and read a book this afternoon. I finished the Mary Wesley biography last night and didn't weep at the end after all, because she went out as she lived, with ascerbic flag flying high. No room there for tears, apparently. I followed up today by reading her novel Not That Sort of Girl. And I feel as if I learned more about Mary Wesley's inner life from this novel than I did from her biography. I couldn't put the book down, truthfully - the story of a love affair conducted over decades, from first blush to old age. Set mostly during World War II, dated but also very contemporary, skillfully woven, and peopled with a few flawed heroes and several louche characters worthy of the title of villain. It's what we all want real chick-lit to be (or to have been, if it's thankfully on the way out at last) - a novel written by an experienced, intelligent woman, about how a woman lives with her choices in life, and her resulting conflicting loyalties. I can't think of who to compare Wesley to, not Barbara Pym, not Anita Brookner, not Elizabeth Bowen. Further investigation is clearly warranted. I'm off to find more of her books.