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From comedy to soft porn in this final Pop Larkin book
on 16 November 2009
This is the final novel of the Pop Larkin series and to me this book was a great disappointment. I realise that Herbert E Bates was almost 70 years old when he wrote this book. He had seen two World Wars and had fought in the second one of the two. He had seen an old England disappear where the privileged classes had to leave their country homes and sell them to nouveau rich from London. The upper classes walking around in rags and not being able to make ends meet. He had seen old traditions fly out the window, the countryside that he so much loved, change in more ways than one. It is an old man that writes this book. My first thought was a dirty old man with sexual fantasies beyond what most people "dream of". With his last book I am sure he wanted to show what excessive eating and drinking will lead to. And he also wanted to point out the liberal sexual views that was by then flourishing. But, does this make good, nice, cozy reading?
When I read the first book I was shocked at the eccentric ways of the Larkin family. But it was something one could laugh at and say was in a way funny. This final book is not funny. It is not cozy. It is not a book I would let my children pick up to read when teenagers and it is definitely not a book for a person with Victorian values or a prude.
The book starts out with Ma and Pop Larkin having sex twice drinking champagne mixed with brandy in between, one early morning in July. The couple now being in their 40s, one wonders at Pop's stamina and not even being on Viagra. A 70-year-old author's dream perhaps? When they are ready to go for it a third time, Pop gets a heart attack. And for the better part of the book we get to read the depressing thoughts of his as he recovers slowly in his bedroom at home. He is put on a diet and can not touch alcohol and to his great sorrow he can not even get "aroused" by all his beautiful female visitors and his nurse that is a beauty beyond words. When we are not reading about him we read about Primrose, his now about 20-year-old daughter, trying to seduce the vicar and finally succeeding. And intermixed with all this is the talk and discussion about the Pill. The book is a very sad finale to the series. Pop survives and without a doubt will go back to his drinking, excessive eating and his very active sex life with his wife and various other female creatures that find him irrisistable. But when I turn the last page that declares that Primrose is pregnant out of wedlock with the vicar that is anti-Pill, then I say good riddence. Thank heaves there is no sequel. The book is nothing but soft porn and I would not have touched it, had I not felt the need for conclusion.