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I usually enjoy Penelope Lively's novels but found this dull and snobbish
on 18 June 2017
I usually enjoy Penelope Lively's novels but found this dull and snobbish. The worst aspect of the book, though, is its casual treatment of paedophilia- a 14 year-old is groped by an older man but the sympathy from the author and other characters is all with the man, rather than the child. I suspect the child is not considered simply because he is working class - nowhere does Lively attempt to describe the boy or his family's feelings on the matter- instead the boy's family are seen as nasty and grasping. In fact, the characters and lives of the ordinary villagers are not depicted at all other than 'amusing' cameos. Dated and insipid at best, like its main characters who just need a kick up the behind, and shockingly callous at worst, the novel is rather like English society as it was in the '70s so I was surprised to see the book was published in 1989.