Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A House and Its Head

I had read somewhere that Ivy Compton-Burnett was even better than Jane Austen so I bought one of her books and hoped to read a witty story with lots of insight into a society. Well, she's not better than Austen, not by a long shot.

I read A House and Its Head which is the story of Duncan Edgeworth's family. uncan is an autocratic father who catches everyone's smallest error in comportment or conversation. While the story doesn't have much description of the setting, wasn' sure for a long time whether it took place during the Victorian Period. (It was published in 1935.) At the very end the characters talk about the Victorian Period so this novel must take place in the 30's. Yet most good writing would make that clear. True a writer could be doing some cool things with the readers mind and the time period, but that is not in evidence here.

The long-suffering wife in this family soon dies and the apparently emotionless father remarries a woman his daughters' age and is soon cuckolded and the "father" of his nephew's illegitimate son. It's a commentary on rigidity and authoritarianism. It's not humorous and I don't think I learned that much about the era or life in general.

Not something I'd recommend.

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