Top positive review
30 people found this helpful
Funny, bitter-sweet memoir of a Victorian novelist
on 7 October 2001
Elizabeth von Arnim lived an uncoventional life. Despite being a member of German aristocracy through marriage, she rejected the frivolous life-style of her class and found refuge in books and nature.
The Solitary Summer is the very funny and life-affirming account of a year at her summer residence. She writes of her children, of her attempts at gardening and the rigours of running her household. A theme throughout is her longing to throw down her responsibilities and escape to the countryside or to her library.
Von Arnim was a feminist but one who recognised that wit was perhaps the best weapon in puncturing the chauvanism and narrow-mindedness of her age. Her voice rings out as caustic, playful and beguiling as it was over a century ago.