on 28 January 2002
Joseph O'Mealy gives brief and accurate reviews of each of Alan Bennett's works through Lady in the Van. There are very clear explanations of Bennett's development, and due respect for his debt to writers like Beckett and thinkers like Erving Goffman.
As an American, O'Mealy takes a correctively tough line to Bennett and refuses to sentimentalise him. He thus catches the poetry in Bennett's work.
His readings of, in particular, Kafka's Dick and the Insurance Man and of Lady in the Van are masterly.
He pays due attention to Daphne Turner's Alan Bennett: in a manner of speaking first published in 1997, but in many ways his book is fuller. It is indispensable for anyone with a serious interest in this creative and intellectual writer.