Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Very uncommon indeed

Gorgeous book - thanks so much for choice. Loved it. Favourite quote (always hard to whittle down with him, but this is the one that caused me to laugh out loud): "the duke waving viciously from his side, the queen listlessly from hers". Although I also very much benefitted from the idea that reading is a muscle, which needs to be exercised to strengthen. And also very true - if the queen's second book had been a dud, she might have given the whole thing up. How often is that true in so many spheres! Like Val, I enjoyed her reaction to Austen - her own status being so far above everyone else's, the nuances of difference within middle classes or whatever rather too slight to show on radar. I think similarly people in extreme poverty have us in the same economic bracket as Russian billionaires, even though we see ourselves as very different!

And what a fun conceit for the novella. Like Helen Mirren in The Queen, I KNOW it's fiction, but it felt convincing enough to quite possibly happen to be a right guess as to their personalities and private interactions. I don't know why he didn't do it as a play, but it worked so well as a novella, I'm not really wondering. If it had been a play, a number of my favourite bits would have been lost, so hooray for Bennett knowing what he's doing. And how.

Have been wanting to read Proust for years. Some say "Remembrance of time past" (A la recherche de temps perdu) is the best place, even though it's some volumes in. Anyone on for this?