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, April 24, 2016

The Echoing Grove by Rosamond Lehmann. 1953

"The central theme of The Echoing Grove is narrated with hypnotic intensity, and the complex time scheme, moving back and forth between past and present, focusing on one protagonist, then another, is deftly accomplished."  From Rosamond Lehmann A Life by Selina Hastings

1901 to 1990. England

Dusty Answers 1927

A Note in Music 1930

Invitation to the Waltz  1932

The Weather in the Streets  1936

The Ballad and the Source 1944

The Gypsey's Baby and other Stories 1946

The Echoing Grove  1953

The Swan in the Evening 1967

A Seagrape Tree 1976

There was a nine year hiatus  between The Ballad and the Source and The Echoing Grove.  Rosamond Lehmann said every word to as as difficult for her as composing poetry.  It is the story of two sisters, now both widows.  The plot centers  on a love triangle, the love of two sisters, Madeleine and Dinah, for the same man, Madeleine’s husband, Rickie.  As I read on in Lehmann I can see her narrative skill increasing.  Many of her sentences are exquisite.  The relationship of the sisters to each other and to Rickie is very subtly conveyed.   It is very much a novel of intense conversations.  

Some suggest that Lehmann's male characters are not as well developed as are her women.  Lehmann says many who read The Echoing Grove on publication saw Rickie as a thinly disquished Cecil Day, poet Laurete of England and long term lover of Lehmann.  Lehmann repudiated this but the biographical data supports this.

The Echoing Grove is a challenging work, psychologically acute with great conversations.   As of now I will refrain from endorsing it as other Lehmann books are more pleasurable.  Upon completing my read through of her fiction and her memoirs I will  write a sort of overview post explaining the reasons behind my reading of her oevere nearly straight through,  in this I will make recommendations to new Lehmann readers.

Mel u

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