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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Christmas Pudding by Nancy Mitford (1932)

The Novels of Nancy Mitford 

Nancy Mitford wrote two comic masterpieces, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate.  I liked these so much I decided to read all eight of her novels.  The other novels are funny, have great segments but all pretty much acknowledge they are not as great as her two master works.

Christmas Pudding is set on tne country estate of Lady Bobbins, obsessed with hunting.  It is Christmas time and several of her friends and relatives, including her very spoiled and somewhat difficult youn adult daughter, Philadelphia.  Another important, and my favorite character in the story, just published his first novel.  He intended it to be a work showing the anquish and dispair of contemporary English society.  To his great anquish, the novel is hailed by all the critics and the public as a wonderful comic novel.   He has decided he should write a biography of an English author.  He researched various possibilities and set on a recently deceased female author.  He finds she kept a journal for years and he writes her sister telling her of his interest and asks permission to use her journal in his research.  The sister reads his very respectful letter, tells her housekeeper that he seems like a mental case and her write him refusing permission to see the papers.  He is crushed but he keeps trying and eventually gets to read parts of the journal.  We get to read along with him and the diary entries, quite a few of them, are just a total delight.  

Lady Bobbins is trying to find a husband for Philadelphia, not an easy task for this very picky young lady.   At the dinner party one of the guests advocates that capitalism be abolished and that owners of grand country homes would be happier and better citizens if they moved into small cottages.  When asked why she does not give up her house she says she would love to but she does not want to put her 97 household and grounds servants out of work.  

Christmas Pudding was fun to read, a gentle satire of country aristocracy.  I will next read Pigeon Pie.

Please share your feelings on Nancy Mitford and her family with us.

Mel u


Terra said...

I just purchased The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate and look forward to reading them. The Sisters by Mary S. Lovell is a fascinating biography of the Mitford sisters and I am keeping it to perhaps read again.

Mel u said...

Terra Hangen. I hope enjoy the two novels. Another very good book is Selina Hastings biography of Nancy Mitford