Footage from my wonderful birthday trip to London Zoo back in June.
A very happy birthday to my literary sister, Kirsty! May all your dreams and wishes come true as soon as possible! I hope you have a marvelous day, filled with cake, books and the people you love ❤
I feel so honoured to have you as my friend, and I hope we’ll be able to have a chat in person again before long :* Enjoy your special day to the fullest!
I wish the happiest of birthdays to my literary sister, Kirsty! I hope you have an absolutely wonderful day filled with love, books and cake! 😉 I wish you all the best in your PhD studies, even though I’m sure you’ll shine regardless 😀
I hope we get to meet again soon! :*
Today is the birthday of our lovely Kirsty! I hope you have a fabulous day dear, with heaps of books and many other lovely presents, delicious cake, and everything you could possibly wish for! I wish you the best of luck in your academic career and I’m certain you will shine brightly in whatever you do 😉
I’m so very happy to have you as my friend and my literary sister 🙂 Enjoy your special day to the fullest! :*
When the wonderful Jane at Beyond Eden Rock wrote this enticing post about celebrating Margery Sharp’s birthday once more, I leapt at the chance. Last year, I read The Innocents, which I very much enjoyed, and immediately vowed that I would read as many of her books as I could get my hands on. Needless to say, in the intervening year, I have not been able to squeeze any of her novels into my reading schedule, alas.
As ever, I was rather overambitious at the start of this year’s project, thinking that I could feasibly read five of her books and schedule them over the space of a week, as a mini-celebration of sorts. Sadly, University essays and a trip to Australia intervened, so I was only able to read and review one of her books. This year, I opted for In Pious Memory; an interesting novel, but one which I do not feel quite stood up to The Innocents.
In Pious Memory does not seem to be a very popular book; it has just a handful of Goodreads ratings, and next to nothing written about it, whether substantially or otherwise. Published in 1967 by Little, Brown and Company, the novel tells of a woman – rather brilliantly named Mrs Prelude – who has been married for thirty years, and grabs her independence where she can. Her husband, a banker who is often invited to international conferences, often invites her along under the express understanding that she will ‘look after him at the hotel’. He suffers with chronic asthma, and they thus have to travel with an awful lot of paraphernalia, which his condition requires. One gets the impression from the outside that Mrs Prelude is used to making sacrifices:
‘What with Arthur’s equally indispensable dinner jacket and tails there would have been excess baggage to pay, if Mrs. Prelude put in evening-dress and wrap. Fortunately she didn’t need to; one thin silk dress (for Rome), or of light-weight wool (Stockholm) sufficed, and Arthur was very understanding when she had to buy an umbrella at The Hague’.
The novel opens in rather a startling manner: ‘All the same whenever they travelled by plane Mrs. Prelude sat in the tail, even if Arthur couldn’t find a place beside her. She’d read somewhere that it was safer, in the tail, and events proved her right. When the jet taking them back from Geneva crashed into an Alp, Mrs. Prelude, in the tail, was but shocked and bruised, whereas of her husband there remained but the remains’.
Mrs Prelude is unconvinced of Arthur’s death, believing that the body which she viewed as his in her shock may not have belonged to him after all. Her three children set out to bring her round to what they believe is the truth. This disparity adds a level of mystery to proceedings. Despite the children believing that their mother will be more comfortable and independent in Hove, she is determined to stay in the Buckinghamshire life to which she has become accustomed.
Interesting – and often amusing – little details have been placed by Sharp at intervals. Arthur Prelude’s obituary in The Times, for instance, ‘measured five and a half inches’, the sole vegetarian fare served at the wake is muesli, and Lydia, the youngest Prelude daughter, is described as looking young enough to be able to slide down the banisters. Despite this, on occasion, Sharp’s puns are unfortunately nothing more than groan-worthy.
One of the real strengths of the novel lies in Sharp’s depiction of dialogue. The conversations which she has crafted are diverse and semi-original, and characters react to what is said with much of the spontaneity that they would in real life. In Pious Memory is nicely structured; short sections in each chapter proper follow each of the Prelude children – holiday-obsessed Elizabeth, William, who is hoping to get married, and the aforementioned Lydia. The influence spreads; we are soon introduced to other characters who have connections to the children – partners and the like – and then we meet their family and friends. In this manner, Sharp has created an almost hierarchical structure, with Arthur at its centre.
In Pious Memory is certainly an enjoyable novel, and it did keep me guessing for the mostpart. I could not help, whilst reading, to think that it would be a wonderful addition to the Persephone list; it follows similar constructs to some of my favourites of their publications. Whilst I was not entirely satisfied by the ending, In Pious Memory certainly deserves more than its current eight Goodreads reviews, and whilst not the most compelling novel, it has certainly made me more determined to read more of Sharp’s work this year.
I have just been notified that I opened The Literary Sisters two years ago today. The time has flown, and I am so pleased that I have stuck with it, spoken to so many wonderful bloggers, and that I now have the opportunity to share this space with the wonderful Akylina.
Thanks so everyone who has supported us thus far, and here is to many more years of The Literary Sisters!
Happy birthday to the wonderful Akylina, who is celebrating today!
Here’s hoping that your day is full of marvels and beautiful things,
and that you are spoilt rotten!
I am so, so pleased to be able to call you one of my best friends,
and absolutely love the fact that we blog together.
Have a stunning day, my love!
Birthdays are special occasions. Especially when celebrated to the fullest with one’s loved people (and lots of birthday cake and presents). Today is lovely Kirsty’s birthday, and the least I can do from faraway Greece is dedicate this post to her awesomeness 🙂
I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful day, dear, with your family and friends! I hope you receive tons of great (bookish) gifts and that you make this day memorable for many years to come 🙂 You are a brilliant person, you deserve only the best, and I’m so very glad to have met you!
I wish you the happiest of birthdays! 😀
The Literary Sisters is one year old today! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported our blog. We really do appreciate every comment which we receive, and always will. We have experienced some changes over the last few months, but hopefully April will be back blogging again soon. Here’s to many more years of The Literary Sisters.
I was incredibly lucky to receive the following stacks of books for my birthday! The first two photographs show the stacks which I received from my parents, the third shows my new craft books, and the fourth and fifth are those books which I purchased and gifted to myself so as not to break my book-buying ban.
The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
All the Sad Young Men by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Means of Escape by Penelope Fitzgerald
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Children of Green Knowe and The River of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson
Confronting the Classics by Mary Beard
The Darling Buds of May by H.E. Bates
Stitch New York by Lauren O’Farrell
Cute Creatures to Knit and Crochet
Eichmann and the Holocaust by Hannah Arendt
Jubilee Lines by Carol Ann Duffy
Post Office by Charles Bukowski
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Long Distance by Penelope Mortimer
Anna Apparent by Nina Bawden
Peerless Flats by Esther Freud
The Camomile by Catherine Carswell
My Neighbour Totoro: The Novel by Hayao Miyazaki and Tsugiko Kubo
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Summer in February by Jonathan Smith
The White Castle by Orhan Pamuk
The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch
Faulks on Fiction by Sebastian Faulks
Which of these books have you read, and which should I begin with?