I have too many books! We have three boxes of books from the Planned Parenthood Sale I am trying to consolidate into one. Leave a comment if you’re interested in any of the five titles below (or more than one) and, if more than one person “volunteers,” I’ll draw a name. Otherwise I trot them down to the Little Free Library, where my Dover book of Edith Wharton’s stories and D. H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow still languish.
1. Violet Trefusis’s Broderie Anglaise, translated from the French by Barbara Bray. I read this one last fall and loved it. The 37-year-old heroine, Alexa, a novelist who lives in Oxford, is having an affair with handsome 29-year-old Lord John Shorne. When he tells her he is going to Rome, she knows it is “to see that Pamela.” He wishes she would restrain her feelings, because it’s dull for him to deal with them. He says,…the least of your heroines is so much cleverer than you.”
“They’re my own portrait touched up,” she answers.
2. Norah Hoult’s There Were No Windows (Persephone). Some Persephones I keep forever; this one I enjoyed, but it needs a new reader According to Persephone: This 1944 novel is about memory loss and is the only book we know of, apart from Iris about Iris Murdoch (and arguably There Were No Windows is wittier and more profound), on this subject. Based on the last years of the writer Violet Hunt, a once-glamorous woman living in Kensington during the Blitz who is now losing her memory…
3. David Lindsay’s A Voyage to Arcturus. A fantasy novel described by Loren Eisley as: “The book is an amalgam of strange philosophies clothed in weird exterior forms that have taken shape in weird exterior forms that have taken shape in a fantastically gifted if somewhat elusive mind.”
4. Margery Sharp’s Martha in Paris. A feather-light to-be-read-once novel. Last fall I said, “Sharp takes our image of fat women and throws it in our face. Art matters, not fat, and Martha is a fat artist. A sexual experience jeopardizes Martha’s aspirations, but she overcomes it, despite pregnancy.”
5. Margery Sharp’s In Pious Memory. Another feather-light novel. Mrs. Prelude, the wife of a famous financier, survives a plane crash, but her husband does not. Later, she is unsure if she has correctly identified his body; and she and her youngest daughter, Lydia, fantasize that he is still alive. Lydia and her cousin set off on a bicycle trip to look for her father in France. It is funny, though a bit Disneyish. Perfect plane reading. Not very good, but entertaining.