Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Monday, 17 October 2011

A book now part of my DNA

Three combined novels that gripped and moved me in my youth: The Complete History of the Bastable Family, by E. Nesbit. I haven’t opened the book for a while yet, as I do, the gripping and moving starts all over again.

We are the Bastables. There are six of us besides father. Our mother is dead, and if you think we don’t care because I don’t tell you much about her, you only show that you do not understand people at all.

Perhaps “British” should be inserted before “people” for these are very British stories. As in the better known Railway Children, the children are left to their own devices.

They decide to restore the family fortunes and fail. Cast down by their father’s (brief) disapproval (Your lot is indeed a dark and terrible one when your father is ashamed of you. And we all knew this, so that we felt in our chests just as if we had swallowed a hard-boiled egg whole. ) they form the New Society For Being Good In, a project later disparaged. Reforming their horrible cousin Archibald turns out equivocally.

These are moral stories but, at its best, the morality arrives by accident. Oswald, the eldest child, is the narrator and his style (to me the most brilliant element) is that of a teenager conscious that the burdens of adulthood are just round the corner. The books were written at the turn of the century, I read them in the late nineteen-forties. It was if the action was occurring in the street outside. The concerns were my concerns, the opinions my opinions.

My recommendation is you don’t read them. I can’t bear the thought we might disagree about their merit. Please click pic; it deserves it.