Top positive review
It started with a pack of suppositories
18 November 2013
Russell Buffery (known to one and all as "Buffy") is an actor just entering his sixties and the offers of work are starting to dry up. Never reluctant to wallow in self-pity he looks back upon his life and in particular his trail of broken marriages and relationships. With three ex-wives and a complex network of children and step-children behind him he is unsure what the future will hold. Things start to look up, however, when he encounters the lovely young Celeste at his local pharmacy (though as he has gone there on a quest for suppositories their initial meetings lacks some of the romantic glamour of "Brief Encounter"]. However, as they come to know each other better it seems that Celeste has developed a dogged curiosity about Buffy's ex-wives and proceeds to meet them all.
Buffy's ex-wives are quite a mixed bag. The most recently estranged is Penny, suave, sophisticated and successful in her career as a journalist who can seemingly craft a newspaper or magazine column out of virtually nothing, Celeste tracks her down to the Soho cafe where she always breakfasts and undertakes to help her with one of her current assignments. Then she locates the permanently distracted and artistic Jacquette, now living with psychoanalyst Leon, whose patient she had formerly been. Celeste manages to win her trust and romises to "sit "for her. Then she goes looking for Popsi, Buffy's first wife. Meanwhile Buffy continues to drift through his life, wondering how he might manage to capture Celeste's affections.
All this sounds potential depressing but Deborah Moggach manages it all very deftly with a keenly-observed humour that never drowns out the touching nature of the story.
All very enjoyable.