A Persephone classic, this little book has drawn mixed responses from other book bloggers. I fall into the “really enjoyed it” category. It’s a short (128 pg), funny and dark. I think it was the contrast between the superficial absurdity of it all and the dark undercurrents that appealed to me. I agree that the characters weren’t especially endearing or well developed. Mrs Thatcham was hilarious but wholly irritating and unlikeable. Interesting that she was modelled after Julia Strachey’s one time mother in law.
The action takes place on the wedding day of Dolly and Owen, engaged only for a month and to set sail for South Africa immediatey following the nuptials. The quirky assortment of guests, mainly unruly family members converge on the house of the bride – Dolly herself spends most of the story in her room, drinking too much rum and preparing both in dress and mind for the ceremony. Her mother Mrs Thatcham is a nervous wreck, attempting unsuccessfully to direct proceedings in a way she finds socially acceptable – with amusing consequences.
There is an interesting development toward the end which came out of the blue and really cemented the the overall feel of the book. Very enjoyable.
Read for the November Novella challenge.