This is the first Virago Modern Classic I’ve read in it’s traditional green spine. Lovely to read, the perfect length for this type of story at 160 pages.
Having just finished it I’m struck at how fitting the title is. Five short words convey so much. It is on the one hand the deeply personal experience of one woman, a woman of a certain age living in a certain age. At the same time I suspect it could be the story of many women and this is captured in the title as well.
Elizabeth is on holiday in Morocco with her husband of eighteen years, Richard. As they make their way around the country, Elizabeth takes the time to reflect on their marriage. A marriage it would be fair to say that has been rather mundane and one of comprise in her eyes. It doesn’t sound like especially enjoyable reading does it but it actually was. Saved from being too gloomy by delightfully wicked thoughts and observations scattered throughout – I found myself laughing away on the train, always a good sign, especially on the way to work!
Thrown into the mix to help Elizabeth cement her thoughts are Flora, an old friend of Richards who coincidentally happens to be in Morocco at the same time and an older couple – ‘Daddy’ and Mrs Hobbs who they meet along the way.
We learn about the upbringing Elizabeth had with her somewhat unconventional Aunts and the conflict she has between wanting to pursue a career in politics and being seen to be a good wife and mother.
A lot to ponder in this little green book – a nice introduction to Nina Bawden and the Virago Modern Classics which I’ve read for Rachel and Carolyn’s Virago Reading Week. I’m not sure I would have chosen to read this otherwise. I’m glad I did, it’s a real treat.
First published in 1967