What do you read when you’re getting just a little bit bored of serious reads? When even the best literary classic gets a bit heavy, and some of your book group choices are just plain miserable, however beautifully written?
Well, here is one answer. The Bloomsbury Group are useless are replying to emails, but are producing some funny little classics. I wrote ages ago about Henrietta’s War and Henrietta sees it through both by Joyce Dennys, which were a jolly pair of books about a doctor’s wife in World War Two, complete with some excellent cartoons.
The latest that I have read is Love’s Shadow by Ada Leverson.
Apparently this author was much admired by Oscar Wilde, and I can see why. It is the very British humour that you can see in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ and leads to Wodehouse and Cold Comfort Farm. It is in the characters, the ridiculous things that they say and do, and the silliness of melodrama in which nothing bad happens (apart from the odd misplighted trough).
In this book , a young married couple are very central. The Ottley’s live in comfortable circumstances, but Bruce must be handled very carefully. He always wants the opposite, has aspirations to be a great dramatist, and would drive a saint mad. The funniest section is when he takes part in amateur dramatics, working hard at his two line part. Anyone who has worked in these groups will whimper with recognition…
The rest of the book is about unrequited love, unlikely coincidences and impossible women who wear an odd assortment of golf hats, mackintoshes and clothes that make them ‘look upholstered’. This book will not appeal to everybody. But if you like things like Cold Comfort Farm, Diary of a Nobody or Oscar Wilde, this is a funny little book to spend an hour or so enjoying.