"How are your lectures going?" asked Kitty of Joseph, a kind of desperate intentness in her voice and face. This was her style of the moment with the male sex. "Very well, thank you," said Jospeh and added: "We heard about the practices of the Minoan Islanders upon reaching the age of puberty at the last one." He started snapping up his cutlet."Oh really, how terribly interesting!" said Kitty."Yes, very. Like to hear about them?" offered Joseph. "Kitty, dear child! Kitty! Kitty! Open the window a trifle at the top, will you! The air gets so terribly stuffy in here always!" cried out Mrs. Thatcham very loudly.
This sardonic and beautifully written novella about a family in Forster territory was first published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press in 1932.
©1932 The Estate of Julia Strachey (P)2002 Persephone Books Ltd
"As delightful and perceptive today as it no doubt was seventy years ago: on her wedding day a girl knows she is about to make a serious mistake." (The Bookseller)
"A brilliant, bittersweet upstairs-downstairs comedy." (The Guardian)
Sublime novella ruined by a childish, tone deaf and hysterical reading.It's amusing enough in its own right and doesn't need the narrator's heavy handed attempts to infuse humour into the story at the expense of any subtlety, irony or insight.
"Enjoyable if you know what you're getting into!"
The first thing anyone who decides to pick up this short novella should know is that the only thing that is remotely "cheerful" about it is indeed the weather on the day during which all the action takes place. Thankfully, I had read a few reviews and knew this before I'd even purchased the audio version of this Persephone book originally published in 1932, so did not suffer disappointment in that sense, and on the contrary, enjoyed discovering how Strachey had described the situation at hand. On this day of lovely weather, guests and family have converged at Mrs Thatcham's house to attend her daughter Dolly's wedding. There reigns a great confusion as Mrs Thatcham tries to get everything in order before the ceremony while giving contradictory instructions to the servants. None of the people assembled seem to especially look forward to the wedding and hold various meaningless conversations, while Dolly herself takes an inordinate amount of time getting ready in her room, where we learn she has been slowly getting drunk, drinking straight out of a bottle of spirits. An interesting little story which I could easily see being performed as a play.
Amid the bustling preparations for a wedding the subtle, intertwined relationships of the party emerge. Amusing and sad misunderstandings abound. Somehow, the listener cares about the characters. This book is written in a similar real-time, day-in-the-life manner used by Virginia Woolf. I loved it. Wonderful narration. Nice inter-generational descriptions that were quite touching. Delightful, funny and picturesque.
I had heard raves about this book from friends on a book site. Maybe it's one of those that is better read to oneself than listened to. The focus is on the preparations for Kitty's wedding--but we never see the wedding itself. Kitty realizes that she is in really love with Joseph and fantasizes that he will whisk her away--but neither says a word, so of course, the wedding proceeds. The mother is a caricature of the fussy, absent-minded upper middle class British mum. A few other characters are interesting types. But I would have to say that I was more bored than amused, despite Margoles's lively reading.
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