Have a big box of tissues handy
Posted October 19, 2011on:
For a long time I believed that all English novels ought to be written in long, difficult sentences with complicated clauses and words that no-one ever uses in conversation. Narrators ought to be effete and educated. Plots should be convoluted. Coincidences should stretch credulity. And there should be romance and sometimes even heartbreak.
It was with reluctance and some sorrow that I learned that novels survived the onslaught of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner. They not only survived, they thrived. They became cleaner, leaner and healthier (notwithstanding Pynchon, Burroughs and Barth).
They became too easy to read, too exciting and too funny. Yes, too popular, Ray Bradbury, Mr. Salinger, Joseph Heller, Nevil Shute, Stephen King, Jackie Collins!!!
So it was with great relief and nostalgia that I immersed myself in this sentimental thriller set in Victorian England. It’s best read in bed over two days with a heavy cold and absolutely no visitors.
It’s sublimely self-indulgent. Treat yourself to a gin and tonic while you’re reading it and have a big box of tissues handy.