Here I am ill again, so that it took me about seven hours to complete my post, and once again it has vanished. I am beyond furious.
This week I was visiting Dame Muriel Spark's Loitering With Intent. For those unfamiliar with the work, it concerns a young woman living in London in 1950. As she finishes her first novel, Warrender Chase, she becomes secretary to an odd Autobiographical Association and struggles for the souls of its members with Sir Quentin Oliver, her employer.
L1: I compared the situation to the autobiogrpahies being produced by the mostly illiterate members of the Association, which Fleur recognizes almost at once as impossible. What possible situation can be true for LW1, given all the time involved since the actions that affected the lives of F1, M1, OW1 and HS1 and brough HS1 into being perhaps can't even be recounted with accuracy by any of the parties involved, and depends on who is in charge of the Association. In the end, I didn't really care what LW1 did.
L2: This letter reminded me of the cocktail party thrown by the impoverished Lady Bernice "Bucks" Gilbert. Fleur is surprised to be so pressed to attend; then, when she arrives, she finds she is expected to work. Luckily, she meets an old friend Wally and they start dating pretty much then and there, irritating Bucks very much by not doing much work during the party despite the insistence on what Sir Quentin would want. I was much taken aback by the Upstairs, Downstairs tone of the Prudecutor. I advised LW2 to watch Gosford Park and Downten Abbey and various similar works, with or without Maggie Smith in the cast, and then to go with whatever mood emerged.
L3: B3 reminded me of the autobiographers, ruining their life stories to try to strain them into prettiness and consistency. Was sorry LW3 ruined a perfectly good case against B3 by trying to argue the merits instead of simply claiming the behaviour was bizarre. Reminded her that B3 is showing her true face now, regardless of how sweet she may have seemed pre-engagement.
L4: Compared LW4 to the hapless Beryl, Mrs Timms, ever doomed in her attempt to attract her employer, Sir Quentin, and unable to see why. Could not bring myself to advise a nine-year-old on how to advance her love life.