The soul of kindness: A novel (Virago modern classics)
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Top customer reviews
I'd be hard pushed to say which is my favourite of her novels - she is so consistently excellent - but I agree with the reviewer above that this is a strong contender for the best.
Flora is tall, blonde, beautiful, perfect - and utterly unaware of the ultimately dangerous havoc she wreaks in other people's lives.
I love Elizabeth's Taylor's quiet writing and then ... her incisive, cuttingly-observant asides. Patrick, a middleaged homosexual, cherishes the 'nice streaks' in a selfish boy's nature ... and two words sum up a character. And there is no-one like Elizabeth Taylor to describe an English home counties autumn.
Perhaps it is fortunate that her books are not always easy to get hold of - I have been collecting them gradually secondhand and have now read all but two. And I shall be bereft when I reach the end. Nothing for it but to go back and read them all again.
Highly, highly recommended.
Some readers may complain that "nothing ever happens" and there is "no character development" in her novels, but they are obviously not reading deeply enough. To be sure, Ms. Taylor writes about ordinary people in ordinary situations--her novels are sometimes referred to as "domestic"-- but she does so with such perception (sometimes devastingly so, as in this particular novel), that she always manages to hold the attention of discerning readers.
The "soul of kindness" in the novel is Flora, a woman tragically unaware of the disastrous effect her acts of "kindness" has on the people around her. She is so blind to her own shallowness, one can't help feeling sorry for her. Ms. Taylor paints the layers of her story with masterfully subtle colors, telling much of it through the eyes of the secondary characters, who are all wonderfully three-dimensional and familiar.
I highly recommend this novel, which I consider to be Ms. Taylor's finest.
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5 Stars.Read more
I'm not sure why, but Elizabeth Taylor the novelist (1912-1975) seems to be celebrated, if at all, as the most neglected...Read more
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