Saturday, 29 November 2014

Book #45 The Pursuit Of Love by Nancy Mitford

The Pursuit Of Love

In The Pursuit Of Love, a girl named Fanny visits her Uncle Matthew and Aunt Sadie at their home Alconleigh becoming caught up in the whirl of her cousins (mainly Linda) as they enter society.

The difficulty with reviewing this one is that I actually read it months ago and forgot to review it so part of me is now thinking : What were the highlights here again?

There is another difficulty. I've read so much about the Mitfords now that going through this "fiction novel" of Nancy's is to be acutely aware that hardly any of it is fiction and that it is not only semi autobiographical of her own life but that she has cannibalised the lives of her sisters inserting the most amusing anecdotes about their childhoods into the character that most represents her.
In some ways I've ended up reading the books the wrong way round.

Here we can find The Hons Cupboard, Child Hunts, Farve's thoughts on Romeo and Juliet and his preparation for the coming of the Germans. We can recognise that "Lord Merlin" is Lord Berners,  and that the "sewer" that Farve took a shine to and the "sewer" he threw out are Mark Ogilvie Grant and James Lees-Milne respectively etc etc

This said, it is enjoyable, funny and undemanding. A good Sunday in the garden read, or holiday read.
It was said of Nancy that she gave up writing fiction because she couldn't think up any plots but truthfully she couldn't think up characters either, borrowing extensively and sometimes in a way that caused offence the character traits of her sisters and her friends and family and setting versions of them on the page. Other novels featured/mocked Unity and Diana, Debo and her daughter Sophie, her nephew Alexander and Lady Diana Cooper.

Nancy privately sneered at the release of Jessica's autobiography Hons and Rebels but actually it's much better than the Pursuit Of Love which is quite lightweight, it has this pink cover that looks like candy floss and it's a bit like reading candy floss really.     

Despite this will it deter me from reading her entire back catalogue? Inevitably not.


1 comment:

  1. I love this and Love in a Cold Climate, couldn't tell you why. Two TV adaptations have failed to capture anything of their essence. I suppose we all want to be a bit Linda. As you say, it's really a major insight into an aristocratic family between the wars. Their lives are a foreign country to 99 % of people, indeed Jilly Cooper wrote that most middle class girls would read this as a way of discerning what was considered vulgar (mirrors and mantlepiece - beyond the pale). A good enough comfort read though.