Designs for a Happy Home Hardcover – 4 May 2009
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'A strikingly original and funny novel, which hits its targets with deadly accuracy. I loved the writing and Alizia's voice The whole organisation of the book is superb a winner' Helen Dunmore 'I read this very engaging book in two sittings. The character of Alizia is really original, funny and touching. Why have I never thought of keeping our drawing room furniture suspended from the ceiling when not in use? Designs is a genuinely original piece of writing and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am sure the book will do well. It deserves to' Paul Torday, author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
About the Author
Matthew Reynolds is known as a critic and scholar, author of The Realms of Verse and of many essays in the LRB and TLS, editor of Dante in English and of Manzoni's The Betrothed. He spent time in London, Cambridge, Pisa and Paris before settling in Oxford where he lectures at the University and is a Fellow of St Anne's College. He lives with his unruly family in a thoroughly imperfect interior.
Top Customer Reviews
Obviously, it's silly to demand that a story must have a moral (’The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily; that is what fiction means’), but, surely, you expect to see some change ... some character development? The thought even crossed my mind that the book might have been written with malicious intent. Perhaps, if you knew Matthew Reynolds's family and friends, you’d know who Alizia was, and why she was being portrayed as she was.
So the book is interesting as an extended, and very well written, character study; it's just that it doesn't seem to lead anywhere.
Just a shame the paperback version doesn't have such a gorgeous cover as the paint-chart hardcover that attracted me to it - looks a bit chick lit-ish. A shame 'cos there's much more to it than that.
Hope we see lots more from this writer.
Alizia is an interior designer and some of the jewels in the novel are the elucidation of some of her fantastic creations. The mind boggles at some of the contraptions that Reynolds comes up with.
Reynolds writes beautiful prose In an argument with her husband that, on the surface is a reasonably conducted affair, for Alizia: "And in me, it was like I was sand, draining out of myself between my toes. I saw my face as if had been painted in a fresco, great black hollow eyes and a black wailing mouth from which no sound came out".
He is a kind novelist and a very funny one. Highly recommended.
Designs for a Happy Home walks a fine line between parody and sincerity, without falling wholly into either camp. It's a light read and a page turner, yet one that never follows an expected formula. For me, that's what made spending time with Alizia a real and unique pleasure.