Saturday, January 10, 2009

Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader is a little slip of a book, but a delight at that. And though perhaps not to everyone's taste, I can't imagine any devoted reader not taking a great deal of quiet, easy pleasure from it.
As it was, with this one she soon became engrossed, and passing her bedroom that night clutching his hot-water bottle, the duke heard her laugh out loud. He put his head round the door. "All right, old girl?"

"Of course. I'm reading."

"Again?" And off he went, shaking his head. (13)
It is witty and smart without being precious, and he seems to light into just about everyone with equal, quiet glee; though perhaps the monarchy (in the person of the "real" Queen, the flesh and blood Elizabeth II) comes in for it more than others. It's hard to know, for She is rather a happy warrior, if a lonely and initially unwitting one at that. I'd stand with her.

And that's all to Bennett's favor.

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