Tuesday, 13 October 2009
The squire (Bagnold) 246
I was surprised to find that Enid Bagnold had written novels for adults, as I know her as the author of the children's story National Velvet. So I was interested to come across The Squire as part of VVV. According to the blurb at the front of the book she was forced to publish her earliest novels (she wrote four, and this is the second) under a pseudonym as her father was somewhat embarassed to have a writer daughter.
Unfortunately I didn't really enjoy this book as much as National Velvet. It tells the story of The squire, a woman in late pregnancy, awaiting the arrival of her 5th child. I was confused from the start because I always thought Squires were male! Her husband has gone away on a business trip to Bombay and will arrive back after the birth of the baby, and the book is essentially a languid exposition on motherhood and pregnancy.
It was written in the 1920s and published in 1930, and I can imagine that it must have seemed slightly shocking to have such discussions of childbirth, breastfeeding and childcare in a novel, and can understand why Bagnold's father insisted on the pen name.
There are two more books by Bagnold published as Virago Modern Classics so I shall have to see if I have better luck with those.
Just published the once by Virago, a lovely green edition (see above) which I own.