Sunday, 7 March 2010

Duvet Day

There's nothing quite as comforting when you're feeling a little low, and outside icy rain is falling from a bruised and scowling sky, than a duvet day with a good book.

'The Little Stranger' (Canadian link, British link) by Sarah Waters, was shortlisted for the 2009 Booker prize. Sadly for everyone else, Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' was in the pot and that was a most extraordinary book that brooked no competition.

The book burns slowly to begin with, but gently draws us in as Dr. Faraday winds his way around the Warwickshire countryside in his unprepossessing little car. The story is set in post-war, post Churchill Britain, with rationing still in place, petrol scarce and similarly rationed, and everyone speaks like Mr. Cholmondleigh-Warner. The country is about to embrace the National Health Service and Waters captures what I imagine to be the Zeitgeist, the turning moment when the class system is losing its edge. The 'Old Families' can no longer survive, but Attlee's socialists had not yet had time to change the lives of the very poorest. And on top of all that, or maybe smouldering beneath, a supernatural theme, that the people of science, at least most of them, fight with every rational argument they can muster.

A page turner which I strongly recommend, to be taken with duvet, comfort food and whatever your tipple might be.


Sleepy said...

I'll give that a go.

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