Beryl Bainbridge: According to Queeney

Festive Tasks Master Update Post HERE


Festive Tasks, Door 7 — Gift Giving & Wrapping: Read a book with a cover that would make beautiful wrapping paper; or read a book that you would have enjoyed giving or receiving as a gift:

This is less a fictional biography than a portrait of manners and morals in late 18th century London society; or at least, the part of it inhabited by Dr. Johnson (and what part of late 18th century London society did he not inhabit)?  Bainbridge has done her homework on the period in general and the good doctor and lexicographer in particular, though I think what I most enjoyed was the fact that she chose to give us a perspective on this eminent figure through the eyes of a young child — the daughter of his ardent, though unavowed last flame — which instantly takes him down a peg or three, because Hester aka Queeney, our narrator, of course has no conception of the grown-ups’ reverence for the great man, but sees him as an adult like any other (and on occasion, as ridiculous as any other adult).

I’m using this as my book for Festive Tasks, Door 7, as I can easily see these ladies’ dresses turned into gift wrapping; frills, bows, ribbons, bordures and all.  (Also with that exact color scheme.)

Aside from that, together with Martha Gellhorn’s Travels with Myself and Another, this constitutes this month’s reading for the (M)DWS Author Birthdays challenge.  (I have books by other authors lined up for this month’s entry in that challenge, too, but even if I should not get around to those, I’ll consider the November part of the challenge well and truly fulfilled with these two entries.)

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