My desk is looking a bit clearer, so a quick run through of my activities. Going back a couple of weeks, I spent a long day in
Later in that week, and in the following week, we stationed ourselves at the Guildford Institute to sell books, and also at the Christmas Fair at Farnham Maltings. The first day, we took a bus into
Jennifer and her other half came to dinner with Irene on Saturday night, in spite of the freezing weather. The house was lovely and warm. There are distinct advantages to having a chicken in the oven for two and a half hours.
The last reading circle meeting was also a bit of a party, with everyone taking some small items of refreshment, and our hostess providing a buffet of delicacies. We discussed William Boyd’s Restless. For some reason, I started the ball rolling, and was possibly a little over-critical. When other people have given their opinion on a book, I am inclined to listen and moderate my own views. Because I started, I launched into my critique, which was mainly influenced by my antipathy for the two women main characters.
It was a reasonably interesting story, but marred by these characters, with whom I could not really empathise. This book is another timeslip novel, set in the 1970s and the 1940s. Ruth gets vaguely involved with some half hearted protestors, while her mother in the 1940s is a spy in an organisation which creates propaganda for use in the second world war. The two stories come together by virtue of Eva revealing all to her daughter, in order to get her, Ruth, to help find Eva’s spymaster.
If anything, I felt more sympathy and interest in Eva as a young woman than Ruth the contemporary heroine (at least, contemporary in the 1970s – which does not feel like history to me.) However, both of them were rather cold in my view, and perhaps this reflects the way that spy stories are meant to be written – in a cold, detached, cynical way. If so, it means that I would be better avoiding spy stories.