Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pigeon Pie by Nancy Mitford (1940)

My gratitude to Max u for the Amazon Gift card that allowed me to read this book

                 Love these old Cover Images

The Novels of Nancy Mitford 
(1904 to 1973, born London, died Paris)

In the world of Nancy Mitford's novels, no one really has a job, unless you considered unpublished poetic genius a job.  People have "livings", ranging from a meager £500 a year which allows you only two servants up to millions.  Everyone seems to have a Rolls Royce, beige is the preferred color, and eccentric relatives from whom they expect large inheritances.  Paris is paradise for them.  Of course having  a suitable spouse is of paramount importance.

Pigeon Pie is set in England just after war was declared.  For quite a while nothing much happened and everyone in the novel thinks England will win in three months.  To appreciate the humor of this book I think it helps to understand that much of the English upper class, especially landed country gentry, were before the war, in sympathy with the Nazis and saw Hitler as a strong leader who could fight their biggest political fear, communism.  Two of Nancy's sisters, Unity and Jessica were fervent admirers of Hitler.  Jessica spent the war in prison for her involvement with the British Union of Fascists and Unity tried to kill herself when England and Germany went  to war.

The plot is involved with a doty lady who sees Nazis spies everywhere.  We see men begin to get drafted and some are killed.  War rationing begins to impact almost everyone, hence pigeon pie becomes a common menu item.  Butter and suger are hard to get and decent tea is a real rarity.  Fuel for your Rolls is severely  rationed. There are lots of delightful eccentrics.  The Americans have not yet joined the war and their is what vaguely anti- America talk by characters.  Biographers says Nancy disliked Americans.

Pigeon Pie is very witty.  Mitford's prose is just a pure delight.  

My next Nancy Mitford novel, her first one, will be Highland Fling.

Mel u

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