This really is delightful stuff. With Patrick Parker's Progress
, Mavis Cheek demonstrates once again that she is one of the wittiest and most enjoyable of writers, with a grasp of modern social comedy that puts many of her peers in the shade. Those who consider their dealings in love and sex to have been somewhat fraught will recognise many moments here.
The year is 1940, and the city of Coventry is in flames. One child miraculously escapes the flames, and is sent to London. This is Mavis Cheek's protagonist, the eponymous Patrick Parker, who has a shining future ahead of him. He is to be an architect in the vein of his idol Brunel, and build great civic structures. But things will not go as smoothly as Patrick might wish: his relationship with the determined Audrey Wapshott has seemed to be the perfect choice--she adores him, and their destinies appear to be interlinked. But Patrick then does the unthinkable--he dumps Audrey to take up with a woman who will be able to advance his career. Audrey leaves for Paris, and begins to forge a new life--and when Audrey and Patrick meet again, there will be significant changes ahead in both their lives.
As in the equally delightful The Sex Life of My Aunt, Cheek has total command of the pitfalls of human relationships--her characters (both beautifully characterised) bounce off each other in highly diverting ways, but not at the expense of a plausible narrative. Comic this may be, but it plays fair by its own internal rules. The observation here is spot on, and this is highly enjoyable fare. --Barry Forshaw
Cheek is a witty, original writer.' -- Sunday Telegraph
Nobody does satire better than Mavis Cheek . . . this is a genuinely witty book full of laugh-out-loud moments.' -- Sainsbury's Magazine
Warm, funny and insightful . . . hilarious, with a showdown any woman will relish.' -- Eve