During one glorious summer between the wars, the realities of life and the sexual ritual dance of the adult world creep into the life of young Margaret Marsh. Her father, preaching the doctrine of the unsavoury Primal Saints; her mother, bitterly nostalgic for what might have been; Charles and Binkie, anchored in the past and a game of words; ...
During one glorious summer between the wars, the realities of life and the sexual ritual dance of the adult world creep into the life of young Margaret Marsh. Her father, preaching the doctrine of the unsavoury Primal Saints; her mother, bitterly nostalgic for what might have been; Charles and Binkie, anchored in the past and a game of words; dying Mrs Frayling and Lydia the maid, given to the vulgar enjoyment of life; all contribute to Margaret's shattering moment of truth. And when the storm breaks, it is not only God who is on the rocks as the summer hurtles towards drama, tragedy, and a touch of farce.
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Publishers Weekly, 2010-08-09 American readers first turned on to Gardam via Old Filth are in for a surprise with the witty though decidedly more serious story of Margaret Marsh, who comes of age in interwar England. Margaret grows up the only child in an oppressively religious household, and her world gets a much-needed shaking up when her mother, Ellie, has another child and hires a maid, the bawdy but loving Lydia. Lydia immediately begins taking Margaret on day trips that open her eyes to the way others live. Margaret's father, Kenneth, meanwhile, sees Lydia as a laboratory for his Godly work, though he ends up being a less than ideal practitioner of the moral lifestyle he preaches. Then there's Ellie, whose reintroduction to a long-lost love tempts her down the path of what might have been. It all leads to a precipice of disillusion for Margaret regarding her parents' behavior, shattering her perceptions and leading to tragedy. Gardam doesn't waste a word, and the story reads as fresh and relevant now as when it was originally published in Great Britain in 1978. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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