Thursday, 24 September 2009

A woman of my age (Bawden) 366

I'm often on the look out for green spines as I browse the library shelves, and this was one that leapt out at me. It's been waiting at home for a while and I finally got around to reading it yesterday. I've read and written about a couple of Nina Bawden's books now (she has thirteen titles published as VMCs), and this was one of my favourites.

The story concerns a couple, Elizabeth and Richard, who have been married for 18 years and have come to Morocco on holiday. The story is told from Elizabeth's perspective and brings us not only the tale of their holiday but also describes their lives together, effectively bringing us up to date at the point of this holiday.

Elizabeth is coming to terms with growing older, and trying to come to terms with the fact that her life is not what it might have been. Her tale has elements common to many VMCs - the unexpected pregnancy and struggles to bring up a child under difficult conditions; she feels that her life has been constricted by her marriage and her role as a mother. She is dissuaded from getting a job and pursuing her dream of becoming a local councillor; there is little support for her to be a person in her own right. The story of her past is somewhat depressing.

This is intermingled with the story of their holiday in Morocco. Elizabeth has hoped for a restful vacation, but there are other English holidaymakers around who impinge on their peace. The elderly Mr and Mrs Hobbs are pleasant, but require assistance and the holiday really drives Elizabeth to analyse her life when they encounter a former lover of Richard's - Flora - and her new partner. It seems that the supposed accidental meeting may have been arranged, and suggests that Richard has had a different, far less compromising role in their relationship.

Two Virago covers; my library copy was the earlier top one.

1 comment:

  1. I must look out for a copy of my own of this one to read; it sounds intriguing. I love the top cover.