Most helpful critical review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2014
The story, mainly told through interior monologues, is one of the protagonists' secret failures, disappointments and longings. The plot includes murder, adultery and deceit, but all carried out in the apparently respectable street of small shop-owners in 1950's London.'black humour'. The humour, where it occurs is broad and rests on implausible characters and actions. The characterisation is also broad - there is little development and the interior monologues become repetitive. They also slow the action to snail's pace without furthering any understanding - the fact a character enjoys a piece of fruit cake is simply not worth repeating.
I also found the writing itself dreary and repetitive. The qualifier 'so very' is used by all the characters, except for the rough, working-class character, who always speaks inn a rough, working class way! The casual sexism and racism of the times is replicated in this book, without reflection. As indeed the characters are all stereotypes, so it is perhaps apt.
No, I didn't like the book and am amazed at the positive reviews. Most people have far more patience than I do, obviously. And, yes, I do like Virginia Woolf and most of James Joyce.